Clinton backs Muhammad Yunus

Dhaka: Describing Muhammad Yunus as a "tremendous model" for the developing world, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton today asked Bangladesh not to "undermine and interfere" in the effectiveness of the micro-lender Grameen Bank pioneered by the Nobel laureate.

"We do not want to see any action taken that would in anyway undermine or interfere in the operations of the Grameen Bank or its unique organisational structure where the poor women themselves are the owners," Clinton said on Yunus, who was fired by Bangladesh`s central bank in March last year.

"I don`t want anything that would in any way undermine what has been a tremendous model," she told students at the International School Dhaka. Earlier, Clinton had an hour-long breakfast meeting with Yunus and Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC) founder Sir Fazle Hasan Abed.

Emerging from the meeting with Clinton, Yunus said they discussed Bangladesh`s possibilities and achievements so far. "We have discussed the country`s political scenario. We have discussed about microcredit and Grameen Bank," Yunus told newsmen.

The meeting between 71-year-old Yunus and Hillary came almost a year after "the Banker to the Poor" resigned from Grameen Bank, which he founded three-decade ago.

The talks were held at a time when the financial health of Grameen Bank is looking shaky and the government is apparently trying to take over about 50 legally independent associate organisations linked to the bank, the Daily Star reported.

In March 2011, only five years after winning the Nobel Peace Prize, Yunus was ignominiously thrown out of his job as managing director of the bank, which shocked many of his admirers and supporters around the world, it said.