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Muhammad Yunus expresses faith in entrepreneurs at G20 summit

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Microfinance Focus, November 4, 2011: Professor Muhammad Yunus was invited to deliver a key note speech during the G20 Young Entrepreneurs Summit held in Nice, France. Professor Yunus addressed an audience of more than 400 entrepreneurs from all G20 countries. In his speech, he shared his personal entrepreneurship experiences, his faith in young entrepreneurs to be the pillars of society and the need to include poor countries in the discussion process in making global decisions.

Professor Yunus being an entrepreneur himself started off creating the Grameen Bank that provides microfinance services to the poor who had little access to financial provisions. From that, he ventured into a wide number of social businesses such as Grameen Nursing College, Grameen Eyecare Hospitals, Grameen Shakti, etc.

He has always considered young entrepreneurs to be the most effective solution for the future. He said “In my opinion, G20 YES is a fabulous initiative, gathering so much energy and momentum from all over the world. Because of their creativity and leadership, provided that they commit to share the value they create, these 400 young entrepreneurs in this room can change the world.”

Professor Yunus is also a member of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) Advocacy Group, advising the Secretary General of the United Nations. Hence, he believes that the next generation of youths should be handed over the process of the MDGs as soon as possible. He believes that entrepreneurs will have a key role to play in fulfilling the MDGs, if they are committed to the social value created by their companies, and social business can be part of the solutions.

In his speech, he added that the G20 needed to broaden its scope to deal with the current world crisis. It can no longer remain a political forum with economic agendas. The G20 needs to create a social agenda as well. Professor Yunus proposes that ‘social business’ should be brought to the agenda of G20, as one of the concrete and effective solutions to be considered for immediate implementation so as to guide capitalistic investment towards social value and jobs creation, rather than sheer profit maximization strategies. A social business is a cause-driven business where profits stay within the company for its sustainability.

Lastly, Professor Yunus concluded that the G20 should be expanded into the G25, where poor countries from each continent should be included in the global agenda which they are part of. He added that “Their problems are inter-related with others, and their proposals of solutions should be considered by the most economically advanced countries in making global decisions. A G25 would be a big step toward ensuring that global social issues are raised, and MDGs implementation is fully shared on the global agenda. And finally, because fighting poverty together is the only way to bring long lasting peace in this world.”

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