Thursday, 3 March 2011

Micro Debt: Small Loans, Big Problems

Muhammad Yunus, “banker to the poor”, Nobel Prize winner and head of Grameen Bank who popularised micro-credit worldwide, has been sacked from his post by the government of Bangladesh. Yunus and the bank will take the case to court and his friends, a powerful group including a former World Bank president and a former Irish president, have come out in his defence.

This was triggered by Micro Debt, a documentary by the award-winning Danish filmmaker Tom Heinemann first aired on Norwegian television in November 2010. Heinemann looks at the dark side of the micro-credit industry in Bangladesh, India and Mexico. He found that far from liberating the poor, these small loans trapped them even more in poverty and made them vulnerable to harassment from loan collectors and their peers.

The documentary raised the issue of “questionable” loan transfers by Yunus, something he, his bank and the Norwegians deny. The film is more than about one man being pulled down from the pedestal: Heinemann questions whether micro loans are fit for purpose as the “poor always have to pay”.

If you find this shocking, have a look at Renzo Martens' documentary, Enjoy Poverty, which he filmed over a period of two years in Congo.

Tom Heinemann's page

1 comment:

  1. But what point can you score when you besiege a home of an opposition leader? What is the real worth of your regime when a whole police institution sends out a tweet denying the attack on the home of your opponent by saying he was scared of police of foot patrol? sms lån