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Interview: A n Exclusive Interview with Dr. Muhammad Yunus ` Dr. Yunus gave an exclusive interview to the “MICRO FINANCE FOCUS – a global magazine on micro finance and sustainable development” at the Reception Dinner on 30th March 2009 on the eve of the Sa-Dhan’s National Micro finance Conference 2009 being organized at New Delhi. Here are the excerpts from the interview: MF FOCUS: Microfinance is an established and recognized instrument for fighting poverty today. Many people are confident and it gives hope, poverty can be eliminated. Isn't it too simple just to rely on microfinance? Dr. Yunus: You don't have to. Nobody is forcing you to do that. If somebody wants to do Microcredit – fine. I wouldn't say this is something everybody should have. Nobody says it is the only solution. Human beings are very multidimensional. Microfinance is one of the many, many things. MF FOCUS: Social business is an additional way. Do you identify enough potential for social business to make a real difference, globally? Dr. Yunus: Yes of course. Definitely it is a global and not a local issue. There are two kind of businesses: One is business to make money, the other business is to change the world. The one with the intention of changing the world and not to have any personal gain from that. It is all dedicated to make a difference. It is addressing a social issue. Resolve it, you can do that. MF FOCUS: What are all the factors making social businesses successful? Dr. Yunus: A good business plan, good ideas and use the creativity in the most creative way. MF FOCUS: Microfinance as well as Social businesses have to be highly efficient. How is it possible to maintain or re-introduce the social mission back into microfinance? Dr. Yunus: Whenever something gets popular, actually

catches attention, there are people who take advantage of that and misuse it. It happens in everything. When Big brands are popular, it gets imitated by fake ones. Same thing happens with microcredit: People name it microcredit but in fact it is not microcredit. It is something completely different. People have to be made aware of what is microcredit and why it is important to stick to the real microcredit and not one which has a different motivation. But while you are looking at the microcredit itself, even good people may have wrong ideas, which makes them shift away from the whole idea, the mission. You have to be very carefully remind ourselves, what is our mission. That is why we have meetings like this, to rediscover your mission and then re-adjust your work to the mission. MF FOCUS: To build an enabling environment for social entrepreneurs, what governments should do and what regulations do you count as important? Dr. Yunus: It is very important. Very Important!! Regulation is very important but at the same time regulation can be stifling, destroy the whole business by over regulating and make it impossible to function. It is like a mother and a child. You know how you have to change your child to do the right things. At the same time you should not control your children so that it loses all its initiative. It is like becoming a prisoner in the hands of the mother. Regulation should be promotional, a Cheerleader. At the same time making sure you do the right thing that you don't drift away from the real principles. It is a tough job in the sense you have to balance both: How to encourage, and at the same time how to restrain. MF FOCUS: Due to the financial and economic crisis development funds were cut by the north. Where do you see the responsibility of rich countries in fighting poverty? Where should they act? Dr. Yunus: See...The southern countries didn't create the crisis, they are the victims of the crisis. It is only one country which created the crisis and it spread all over. Those who were involved in creating this crisis

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Microfinance Focus April issue 2009  

A Global Magazine on Microfinance and Sustainable Development