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50 People Who Matter 2010 | 40. Mohammed Yunus

Loan star.

In 1976, Muhammad Yunus set up Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, based on a simple idea: microcredit.

Microcredit provides finance to those too poor to receive funds from ordinary banks. It helps keep the vulnerable out of the hands of loan sharks, and allows small businesses to flourish where once they would have stumbled for lack of credit. After giving away so much credit, Yunus finally won some for himself in 2006 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

His ideas have been adopted around the world and, although sometimes criticised, have made a positive impact on the lives of thousands.


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This article first appeared in the 27 September 2010 issue of the New Statesman, The 50 people who matter