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Nobel Peace Prize winner to visit Taiwan this week

2012/08/14 21:47:00

Taipei, Aug. 14 (CNA) Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus will deliver a speech in Taipei Wednesday to discuss the microcredit wave he launched when he opened Grameen Bank in 1983.

Known as the "Banker of the Poor," Yunus will also share his vision in a panel discussion with Acer Inc. founder Stan Shih and Andrew Fan, president of Nu Skin Enterprises Inc. for Greater China, according to the organizer.

The 72-year-old Bangladeshi economist is on a five-day Asian tour, and Taiwan will be his last stop after visiting Hong Kong and Beijing.

Yunus and Grameen Bank, a bank that Yunus founded to promote the concept of microcredit, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for their efforts to create economic and social development at the grassroots level.

By establishing Grameen Bank in 1983, Yunus sought to realize his vision of self-support for the very poorest by offering small loans to people who would otherwise not have access to credit through conventional means.

By the time Grameen Bank was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006, more than 7 million borrowers -- 95 percent of whom were women or groups of women -- had been granted small long-term loans, considered instrumental in lifting them out of poverty.

Despite the bank's apparent success, Yunus decided to step down as its managing director in 2011 after protracted legal disputes with Bangladesh's government over the bank's management and alleged improprieties.

The microcredit scheme has also come under attack for what critics charge are excessively high interest rates. (By Jeffrey Wu)ENDITEM/ls