Saturday, December 22, 2012

Redesigning system key to change, poverty reduction

Redesigning the current system will help change society and reduce poverty, according to Nobel Laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus.
During his speech on 'Microfinance and Poverty Reduction in South Asia', here, today, at the SAARC Secretariat, he said that poverty is not created by the poor, it is imposed on them by the system, the policy framed by us, and the governments, which are all external factors. "Thus we have to fix them, and put a system in place."
Unemployment is a global problem like poverty, and every nation has a history of poverty but those who put a system in place have prospered, he said. "It is a legacy that we have been carrying for no reason," he added.
Prof Yunus was of the view that poor people have done nothing wrong, they are born shy but they have equal rights to grow tall. "However, we have created two systems — one for the rich and the other for the poor — which have to be redesigned and integrated," the banker to the poor said, adding that the current system prefers the privileged only.
"The whole system is making the rich richer, and the poor poorer." By giving power to the poor, that is access to finance, microcredit is trying to create entrepreneurs not job-seekers, he explained about the concept of social business. "Linking social business with traditional ones will help solve most of the social ills. The more companies chip together, the more problems they can solve," he said.
"Governments cannot solve problems as they cannot be creative like people and it is only people who can solve problems," said the Nobel Laureate, whose Grameen Bank has been involved in solving problems of health, education and women empowerment through social business.
"Every time, I see a problem, I create a business out of it," said the father of microfinance, who has brought the concept of social business as a non-loss, non-profit company to support the poor and needy. "But we have devoted our energy to earn money like robots, which has been unable to solve society's ills," added Yunus.
"Economists have misunderstood the human being and made them selfish. But a human being is multidimensional," he said. Poverty too is multidimensional — the poor not only lack enough income to meet their basic needs but are deprived in social, economical and political means.
South Asia — that houses one-third of the world’s poor — has been working on poverty reduction strategy, though at a slower pace. Prof Yunus has been an epitome of microfinance by helping the poor through microcredit and won the Nobel Prize in 2006. "Youth and technology can be effective tools for poverty reduction in South Asia," he added.
Prof Yunus also emphasised the role of women and youth in poverty reduction processes.

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