A constructive discussion hosted by GCU has further developed the proposal that a Grameen Bank be established in Scotland. The new Grameen micro-credit organisation will lead to many Scots, their families and communities joining the millions of people around the world whose lives have been transformed by Nobel Peace Prize winning Grameen bank. Professor Muhammad Yunus has urged Scotland to this now.
Professor Pamela Gillies and Professor Muhammad Yunus met with John Swinney, Scottish Cabinet Minister for Finance and Sustainable Growth as well as the leader of Glasgow City Council Gordon Matheson, Chief Executive of Social Investment Scotland, Craig Campbell, and other key financial stakeholders to discuss the establishment of the first branch of the Grameen Bank of Scotland.
The University is facilitating the establishment of Grameen Scotland – a system to help the impoverished, asylum seekers, and aspiring entrepreneurs in Glasgow, and eventually the rest of Scotland.
Mr Swinney described the meeting as “very useful and constructive” and said that he “was happy to offer the support of Scottish Government officials should their insight be helpful in developing these proposals further.”
Professor Yunus who has opened Grameen Banks all over the world, including the USA, is enthusiastic to have a bank in Scotland. He said: “By providing small loans on suitable terms, we have shown even the poorest of the poor can bring about their own social and economic advancement.
Scotland is a proud and enterprising country – but there are pockets of shocking poverty. If, using microcredit, we can help the poorest people get off welfare and realise their potential as human beings then we must make the opportunity and we must make it now.”
The meeting was hosted by Professor Pamela Gillies who noted the high interest in Scotland in learning from the work of the Grameen Trust. She stated: “When Professor Yunus came in December 2008 to receive his Honorary Degree and he mentioned that he would like to open a bank in Glasgow to help the impoverished, GCU was delighted to help. The University is committed to our social mission, ‘for the common weal’ and we have been inspired by the success of Professor Yunus in changing lives in the poorest communities.”
The Grameen Bank in Bangladesh was founded in 1976 when Professor Yunus lent $27 (£18) to a small group of villagers in Jobra at a rate that would allow them to make a profit and pay him back. The villagers were paying high interest rates to loan sharks for their bamboo furniture-making livelihood which left them with nothing. This small idea by Professor Yunus has evolved into an international microcredit revolution with Grameen Bank having over 8 million borrowers all over the world. Most Grameen bank borrowers are women.
The plan is to create Grameen Scotland within a year. With the support of the Scottish Government and Glasgow City council, discussions will now take place with the UK Government. The University and its Grameen Trust partners are discussing the development plan for Scotland drawing on the information gathered during a fact finding mission by Professor H.I Latifee, Managing Director of the Grameen Trust and the helpful advice and suggestions made at the meeting in July. Crucial to those plans will be the identification of start-up funds and the creation of appropriate business structures. We will keep you informed of the future plans for Grameen Scotland in future issues of this newsletter.
For further information on what Grameen Bank has achieved all over the world please visit their website http://www.grameentrust.org/
If you would like to know more about Grameen Scotland, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org