Slim and Yunus plan to form a lending institution

September 30, 2008 | By | Reply More

One of the world’s richest men, Mexican telephone tycoon Carlos Slim, linked up with the world’s best-known microfinance guru on Monday in a bid to help poor families out of poverty.

Slim and Bangladeshi Nobel Peace Prize laureate Muhammad Yunus plan to form a lending institution that in a first phase will give out more than 80,000 loans, mostly focused on women, to get them up and running a business.

Yunus, nicknamed “banker to the poor,” won the Nobel Prize in 2006 for inspiring a global microfinance movement that has lifted millions of people out of poverty by granting tiny loans aimed at kick-starting small businesses.

Started 30 years ago with a $27 loan to women in Bangladesh, his Grameen Bank has mushroomed by providing credit to poor people who do not have access to mainstream banking.

The Mexican venture, which will hopefully be replicated later on across Latin America, will have initial funding of $45 million and will be called Grameen Carso. Carso is the name of Slim’s industrial holding.

“To bring people out of poverty is our mission,” Yunas told a news conference. “Our loans will focus on income-generating activities, not consumer loans.”

Slim, one of the richest men in the world along with famed U.S. investor Warren Buffett and Microsoft founder Bill Gates, but has been criticized by some for putting less money into charitable causes.

Slim said he planned to use the experience of Yunus in Bangladesh to create a similar institution in Mexico.

“Poverty is only resolved with jobs,” said Slim, who controls Mexico’s top telecoms companies America Movil and Telmex and an array of other businesses in the banking, retail and industrial sectors.

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Category: Rural Women

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