Nothing should be done harming GBDiplomatic Correspondent
Hillary tells govt
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said on Sunday that the Bangladesh government should not do anything that would undermine the Grameen Bank and its successes.
‘We do not want to see any action taken that would, in any way, undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank,’ Hilary said at a question-answer session with students and youth leaders in Dhaka on Sunday morning, according to bdnews24.com.
Hillary made the statement an hour after meeting with Grameen Bank’s founder Mohammad Yunus and Brac’s founder Fazle Hasan Abed.
‘I can only hope nothing is done in any way that undermines the successes of Grameen Bank. I highly respect Mohammad Yunus. I hope it will continue without being undermined or affected by any government action. That would be unfortunate,’ she said.
Hillary was in Dhaka on a two-day official visit starting from Saturday.
The Bangladesh Bank removed Yunus, 71, as managing director of Grameen Bank on March 2 last year on the ground he was past his retirement age of 60.
Hillary said that she had followed the dispute over Grameen Bank from Washington. ‘I have followed the dispute over Grameen Bank from Washington and I can
only hope that nothing is done that in any way undermines…what Grameen Bank has accomplished on behalf of many millions of poor women and their families,’ she said.
Terming Abed and Yunus ‘national treasure’, Hillary said, ‘I am committed in every way I can and my government can to supporting their [Yunus and Abed] efforts because we think they are so valuable.’
Abed and Yunus held a breakfast meeting with Hillary at the US ambassador Dan W Mozena’s residence in Gulshan.
Yunus, also a Nobel laureate, was, however, reluctant to provide any details about their discussion with Hillary on Grameen Bank.
‘We have talked about micro-credit and the current state of the Grameen Bank,’ he said. ‘It would be better not to go into details’.
They said the issues of Bangladesh’s development and empowerment of women dominated their talks when they also discussed ‘various national and regional issues’.
Yunus said they had particularly focused on the issue of employment of women as a way of justifying the need for allowing duty- and quota-free access of Bangladesh’s garment products to the US market.
At a joint press conference with her counterpart Dipu Moni at the Prime Minister’s Office, Hillary hoped that the Bangladesh government would expedite the process to appoint ‘an independent and respected managing director’ for Grameen Bank for carrying out the ‘good work’ of the bank.
The origin of Grameen Bank can be traced back to 1976 when Yunus launched a research project to examine the possibility of designing a credit delivery system without taking any collateral targeted to the rural poor, especially women. In October 1983, the Grameen Bank Project was transformed into a bank by government legislation.
The Bangladesh Bank and Yunus are now engaged in a legal battle at the highest court of the country.
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