Professor H.I Latifee, Managing Director of the Grameen Trust in Bangladesh and Tamim Islam, the Trust’s Director of Development, visited Glasgow in December 2009 as part of the important process of information gathering and the development of a business plan for Grameen Scotland Foundation. During the visit Professor Latifee and Mr Islam met with a wide range of individuals and organisations in Scotland, including potential borrowers, charity regulators, financial advisors, charities, credit union representatives and many others. Glasgow Caledonian University was pleased to host an event during the visit when Professor Latifee gave a lecture to an invited audience. During his talk Professor Latifee reviewed the beginnings and the growth of the Grameen Bank and commented on its impact over the 30 years that he has worked closely with Nobel Peace Prize Winner Professor Muhammad Yunus.
Commenting on his visit to Scotland, Professor Latifee said, ‘It was a great pleasure to visit Scotland. While the weather was cold, the welcome was warm and we met with so many people whose advice and insight is proving invaluable as we prepare a plan to bring the Grameen methodology to the UK. I have had the pleasure to work with Professor Muhammad Yunus over many years and have seen the dramatic impact that his vision has had on the people of Bangladesh. However, I am also very proud that the bank is now successfully operating in so many countries around the world. My colleagues and I are determined to bring the opportunities that the Grameen Bank model of micro credit makes possible for the poorest people in society all over the world. I hope that 2010 will be the year when Grameen Scotland Foundation is launched and hope to return to see that happen.’
The Grameen bank began as a small banking system in the late 1970s to provide small loans – microcredit - to the poor, mainly women, in rural villages in Bangladesh to start their own enterprises. At present, the Grameen Bank now has 2,563 branches and has 8.01 million borrowers - the majority being women. The Grameen Bank has been successful in western countries such as the USA where they have loaned $2.9m to over 1,350 borrowers. The Grameen Trust is part of the Grameen bank that supports and promotes the microcredit programmes all over the world.
“GCU is delighted about the opportunity to become involved in facilitating the setting up of Grameen in the UK. We are currently helping Prof Latifee to gather the information he needs to create a sound business plan to support the development of Grameen in the UK.” said Professor Pamela Gillies. “We are convinced that the Grameen remove bank model will be a success in Scotland and the wider UK. The Grameen financial model should sit well within the framework and culture of Scotland and, if successful, will help us address issues of poverty and inequality that are especially prevalent in Glasgow.
Professor Latifee and I are excited by the potential this model has to work in the way it has in America and we look forward to the next stage in the creation of Grameen Scotland Foundation.”
There will be regular updates on Grameen Scotland Foundation trading as Grameen in the UK in future Grameen Caledonian programme e-newsletters or see www.grameenscotland foundation.org.uk. If you would like further information on what Grameen Bank have done all over the world please visit their website http://www.grameentrust.org/