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Muhammad Yunus set up the Grameen Bank in his home country of Bangladesh with a loan of just, to lend tiny amounts of money to the poorest of the poor those to whom no ordinary bank would lend. Most of his customers as they still are were illiterate women, wanting to set up the smallest imaginable village enterprises.
It was his conviction that this new system of 'micro credit', lending even such small sums, would give such people the spark of initiative needed to pull themselves out of poverty. Today, Yunus's system of micro credit is practised around the world in some 60 countries, including the US, Canada and France. His Grameen Bank is now a billion-pound business. It is acknowledged by world leaders and by the World Bank to be a fundamental weapon in the fight against poverty. Banker to the Poor is Yunus's enthralling story of how he did it: how the terrible famine in Bangladesh in 1974 focused his ideas on the need to enable its victims to grow more food; how he overcame the sceptics in many governments and among traditional economic thinking; and how he saw his micro-credit extended even outside the Third World into credit unions in the West. Such is the importance of his book that HRH the Prince of Wales has contributed a Foreword in which he hails 'a remarkable man [who] spoke the greatest good sense'.