Professor Muhammad Yunus in his keynote address at the Grameen Microfinance Forum in Asia, emphasized the need for mobilizing greater resources and developing new partnerships to make a serious dent in poverty around the world. The Forum was held at AIM Conference Center in Manila on May 30-31, 2001.
Professor Yunus reiterated that microcredit should be recognized as a human right and that poverty reduction could only be achieved if institutions are rebuilt to serve the needs of the poor. He said that although microcredit has made great advances, there is still a great unfinished task ahead. In addition to microcredit, the poor have to have access to technology so that they are properly equipped to face the rapid pace of globalization. He welcomed the partnership with Citibank in furthering the efforts of microcredit programs and said that the collaboration is only a beginning.
The Forum was sponsored by Grameen Trust, Citigroup, Philnet, and Grameen Foundation USA. It brought together about a hundred people representing Citibank, leading Filipino and other Asian microfinance organizations, representatives from regulatory bodies, Grameen Trust and Grameen Foundation USA. Participants included Mr. Frits Seeger, Head of Citibank’s Asia Pacific Consumer Business, Professor H.I. Latifee, Managing Director of Grameen Trust, Dr Cecile Del Castillo, President of Philnet, Dr. Mike Getubig, General Manager of Grameen Foundation USA and others.
The papers presented in the meeting included experiences of Grameen Bank Replicators in China, Philippines and Malaysia. Professor David Gibbons, Executive Trustee of CASHPOR Inc presented a paper on new financing strategies for scaling-up programs. Dr Getubig presented a paper on the creation of microcredit friendly regulations. Other presentations focussed on innovations in technology for microcredit and volunteerism in microcredit. These issues were discussed intensively.
As part of advocacy for microcredit, Professor Yunus met with Philippines President, Ms Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as well as with high officials of BSP, the Central Bank of the Philippines.