Microcredit: a tool for peace

PARIS, Oct 13, 2006 (AFP) – Microcredit has become an increasingly powerful tool to liberate the world’s poorest people, particularly women, from the prison of poverty and the power of loan sharks. It provides access to small loans to the world’s 1.2 billion poor people so they can rebuild their homes, pay school fees or set up that tiny business that will enable them to get out of poverty.

For this one sixth of humanity that is refused the services of conventional banks because it is not creditworthy, microcredit is an alternative to unscrupulous moneylenders or buying goods on credit, which is more expensive than paying in cash.

For women in particular, it can open the door to precious independence.

In the Nobel Committee’s view, the role of microcredit is more than providing money, which is why Bangladesh’s Muhammad Yunus and his pioneering Grameen Bank were on Friday awarded the Nobel prize not for economics but for peace.

“Lasting peace can not be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty. Micro-credit is one such means. Development from below also serves to advance democracy and human rights,” it said.

Empowering people, giving them

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