Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today issued the following statement on the latest efforts by the government of Bangladesh to control or dismantle the world-famous Grameen Bank, whose microcredit programs have lifted millions out of poverty around the world:
"It is past time for the government of Bangladesh to cease its efforts to destroy one of the true economic marvels of our age: Grameen Bank. I call upon Secretary of State Kerry to make it clear to officials in Dhaka that America supports Grameen Bank and its work for the poor in Bangladesh and elsewhere in the world," said Holt. "If the government of Bangladesh persists in its attacks on the bank and Professor Yunus, our government should reevaluate the wisdom of our current push to deepen political and security ties to the current government."
This week, Nobel laureate and Congressional Gold Medal winner Professor Muhammad Yunus published an op-ed in the Dhaka Tribune condemning proposals for a government takeover or outright break up of Grameen Bank, which Yunus founded over 30 years ago to help poor women in Bangladesh and elsewhere create their own small businesses and rise out of poverty by providing small loans at generous terms.
Earlier this year, the Congress awarded America's highest civilian award, the Congressional Gold Medal, to Yunus for his creation of microcredit and his life-long commitment to fighting poverty. Holt was the sponsor of the resolution authorizing the medal.
"Bangladesh needs more institutions like Grameen, and more pioneers like Muhammad Yunus. It's past time for the government of Bangladesh to recognize those facts and work with Professor Yunus, not against him."