Courtesy: Nihon Keizai Shimbun, Inc.Â (NIKKEI)
Honorable President, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a great honour for me to receive the Nikkei Asia Prize 2004. When the news of my receiving the prize was communicated to me, it was quite a surprise for me.
I was not expecting to win this prestigious prize. But being chosen for it made a big difference. This prize has inspired all of us in Grameen Bank for a very special reason. The name "Nikkei" represents the core of the economy and the media in Japan. Being recognized by Nikkei is like a dream come true.
We have been struggling all a long, since we began to lend money to the poor in Bangladesh in 1976, to convince the world that what we are doing should be accepted as an integral part of business. We have been arguing that it is absolutely wrong of the financial institutions to reject the poor people by assuming that they are not creditworthy. I wanted to demonstrate in one village that banking can be done with the poor people without collateral and without risking the money. My demonstration was successful. But nobody took it seriously because it was done in one tiny village. So I expanded my work to several villages. more...