Muhammad Yunus, creator of the modern microcredit and awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, will meet the students of BBS for a Master Lecture on the system of small loans that has caused a real shift of mentality in the banking world. The New Economics of Zero Poverty, Zero Unemployment and Zero Net Carbon Emissions is the title of the event that will be held at Villa Guastavillani, during which the Bengali economist and banker will expose his vision for a more equitable, inclusive and sustainable future. The topic will be discussed together with Giuseppe Torluccio, Executive Vice President of Fondazione Grameen Italia and Professor of Corporate Banking at the University of Bologna.
Muhammad Yunus graduated in Economics from the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh, and then pursued a Ph.D. in Economics at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. From 1969 to 1972 he was Professor of Economics at the Middle Tennessee State University, then Director of the Department of Economics at the University of Chittagong from 1972 to 1989.
His native country, Bangladesh, is periodically devastated by natural disasters and presents a structural poverty in which 40% of the population does not meet the minimum daily food needs. In 1974, in particular, a violent flood caused a severe famine and the death of hundreds of thousands of people. It was on this occasion that Yunus realized how much the economic theories he himself taught were far from the reality and decided to analyze the economy of a rural village in its daily course. The analysis of his observations revealed that poverty was not the result of laziness or ignorance of people, but of a lack of support from the country’s financial structures.
Traditional banks are not, now as then, interested in financing small projects with low profit opportunities in the face of high risks, especially if managed by women who are not able to offer guarantees. Through modern microcredit, Yunus decided to put economic science at the service of the fight against poverty. His first loan was of only $27, given to a group of women from the village of Jobra who produced bamboo furniture. Since then Yunus and his collaborators began to visit hundreds of poor Bangladesh villages on foot, giving the communities loans of a few dollars but capable of triggering virtuous circles with positive repercussions, especially on women’s emancipation.
In 1976 Yunus founded the Grameen Bank, the first bank for the poor. In fact, the institution grants micro loans to local poor populations without requiring guarantees, based on the trust and entrepreneurial skills of individuals.
Microcredit has thus become one of the financing instruments used all over the world to promote economic and social development, spread in over 100 States, from the United States to Uganda. The Yunus system has caused a change even within the World Bank, which began to initiate projects similar to those of the Grameen Bank.
It is possible to participate until seats are available.