Not interested in World Bank presidency: Yunus

Dhaka: Bangladesh`s Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus today said he had no interest in becoming the World Bank President despite being proposed for the position by Premier Sheikh Hasina in an "unexpected good news" for the economist.

"I have no interest in taking the responsibilities of the position of World Bank chief," 70-year old Yunus, who founded the micro-lending `Grameen Bank`, said in a statement, adding that he wanted to dedicate his life to social business, an idea he was propagating for the past several years for the "poor men`s benefit."

Yunus said that being a "regular critic of World Bank," he was against the regulations and activities of the bank for a long time while the provision of keeping its top position for a US citizen was "also a matter of my criticism."

He, however, said, the proposal of Hasina, known to be a harsh critic of him, was an "unexpected good news for me" and he "sincerely thanked" the Premier for her "kind gesture" but rejected the suggestion saying "all my life, I have dedicated myself to do things in my own way, and do things which I thought important for me to do."

"Another special reason for me to be happy on hearing this good news is that this proposal itself, and the generous list of my qualifications for the job that the honourable Prime Minister presented to the (EU) delegation (during its recent visit here), make clear that the impressions she previously had about me and Grameen Bank no longer exist. "Now I am hopeful that the government`s policy towards the Grameen Bank and me will be in line with the Prime Minister`s latest position. This will remove a huge burden of pain and worry from me, also from many others in the country," Yunus said.

Yunus` comments came more than a week after Hasina proposed his name for the World Bank Presidency during a meeting with an EU parliamentary delegation, months after his resignation from the Grameen Bank following protracted dispute with her government.

US Ambassador Dan Mozena earlier this week said Washington would give its "fullest consideration" to Yunus` candidature for the World Bank Presidency "if he agrees" to be the head of the Bretton Woods institution.

Yunus` experiment of poor men`s banking earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 and Bangladesh the repute of being the home to micro credit.

Historically, the World Bank Presidents come from the United States but Yunus` name was suggested for the position as proposals were floated to amend the provision and keeping the Presidency of the multilateral lending agency open for prospective candidates from outside US.

But Yunus said he was now involved in works to make "the world aware of the potential of social business, the successful implementation of social business, making the next generation across the globe optimistic about the future of humanity and encouraging them to take the leadership in creating a new, and better world."

"I want to remain completely focused to these tasks. I hope some time soon, there will be a `World Social Business Bank`… When this bank is created, if someone requests me to take the Presidency of the bank, I`ll accept that responsibility with great pleasure, no matter what my age will be at that point of time." Yunus was forced to resign last year as the Grameen Bank chief after he lost his final legal battle in the apex court to thwart a Bangladesh Bank decision to remove him.