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Microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus ousted? | 

World Economic Forum

Muhammad Yunus

Update as of Friday afternoon: Still not clear.

Muhammad Yunus, the Nobel Peace Prize winning economist who created the anti-poverty loan strategy known as microfinance, has reportedly been ordered by the Bangladesh government to step down from his pioneering institution the Grameen Bank.

I say reportedly because the news, at the moment, is kind of schizoid — because the politics in Bangladesh are, uh, unpredictable and, well, because being told to do something is one thing and doing it is another.

Yunus has been in a political battle for a while which, depending upon your perspective, is either just an unjustified power struggle or the result of a broader crisis in microfinance.

The New York Times and Time magazine say Yunus has been ousted. The Associated Press and Forbes say he’s been ordered out, but plans to stay.

David Roodman, a microfinance expert at the Center for Global Development and one of those with his finger on the pulse, is also questioning whether some of the media reports might be jumping the gun to claim he’s actually been ousted.

As Roodman noted Monday, the board of the private bank refused to follow the dictates of politicians to vote him off the board and U.S. politicians have come to Yunus’ support.

My money is on Yunus putting up a fight. We’ll see.

Microfinance pioneer, after attacking profit-seekers, is counterattacked | 

World Economic Forum

Muhammad Yunus

The man, and Nobel laureate, who for more than 30 years has been celebrated as one of the world’s leading anti-poverty champions is fending off allegations of improper financial behavior.

Economist Muhammad Yunus won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize for pioneering, through the Bangladeshi lending organization Grameen Bank, the anti-poverty scheme known as microcredit or microfinance.

As I’ve reported on here over the past few months, the field of microfinance has fallen into a crisis due to allegations of excessive profit-seeking, political manipulation and a general shift from its image as a noble experiment aimed at helping the poor to a scheme aimed at exploiting the poor. Continue reading