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Prof Yunus, ‘Banker of the poor’, sets up Sh5Bn fund for Social businesses in Kenya

Prof. Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 9 – Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus is in Nairobi to launch the globally acclaimed non-profit fund, Yunis Social Business, in Kenya.

The renowned economist and social entrepreneur says Yunis Social Business has partnered with local companies to invest in sustainable social businesses in Kenya and will be part of the 12-country network under YSB.

“The Kenyan one is a separate unit as Yunis Social Business Kenya but the idea is the same; to help people who want to solve social problems around us in a social business way. This means we do the business not to take dividends or make money for ourselves but devoted to solving social problems,” said Yunis.

YSB Kenya will invest in social enterprises from an initial fund of $5 million sourced from local and international investors.

Yunus, who is considered the pioneer of micro-financing for extending low interest, no collateral business loans to the very poor through his Bangladesh-based Grameen Bank, says the social business model is the key to lifting millions out of poverty.

“We built Grameen Bank as a sustainable business, where it covers its costs not to make money for ourselves…but to help people overcome their problems of poverty and joblessness,” said Yunus, in an interview with Capital Business.

Popularly known as the ‘banker of the poor’ Yunus says the social business microfinance model has a low-interest rate, only factoring 10 percent to the cost of the fund, “to cover its costs so that we don’t inject charity money in it.”

Yunus and his Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for what the Norwegian Nobel Committee said that Yunus and the bank had shown “that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development.

Yunus Social Business has supported 1500 entrepreneurs in 12 countries including Uganda, Tunisia and India impacting 3 million customers.

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