Muhammad Yunus is bringing his Grameen model of microfinance to Scotland, where he plans to set up the first European branch.
Speaking to Scottish national newspaper the Scotsman, Yunus outlined his plans to raise £1m to finance the new organisation:
“A new charity has been set up – the Grameen Scotland Foundation – to raise money to support the process of bringing this lending model to the UK for the first time,” he said.
“With more than £100,000 raised so far, the charity is well on its way to reaching its initial £1m target.”
In the article, Yunus explained his motivations for choosing Scotland as his first European venture:
“In Scotland, and in the rest of the UK, there are pockets of poverty and welfare dependency which have not changed in the last 40 years. In the West of Scotland, around 300,000 people live in the poorest category of the household income.
“But despite these grim statistics, there remains a great deal of hope. Hope gives a poor person a chance. It empowers an individual, and through them a family. Grameen can provide that opportunity for change, and in doing so challenge the cycle of welfare dependency in the UK.”
Yunus is working with Glasgow Caledonian University to set up the bank.
Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi economist and founder of the Grameen Bank, an institution that provides microcredit to help its clients establish creditworthiness and financial self-sufficiency. In 2006 Yunus and Grameen received the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below".