There?s a Bright Spot in Banking. Really!- Changemaker.

?It?s about dr-yunus?microfinance.

The world of finance may seem an unlikely place to find good news these days, but there?s one area of banking that?s a certified bright spot: microfinance.

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?While the financial world collapses all around us, our schemes are thriving,? remarked Nobel Peace Prize winning microfinance pioneer Mohammed Yunus, ?so who is really credit worthy??The answer: all those underserved citizens at the ?bottom of the pyramid??the billions often neglected by business-as-usual bankers who up to now have been catering to a tiny wealthy minority.

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“But banks are now seeing how saturated the historically profitable segments are, and how many banks are competing for the same pool of these customers,? Semenchuk said. That?s why his section of Citigroup is focusing on reaching out to a new?and very large?group of potential customers. One outreach initiative was the bank?s sponsorship of the Changemakers Banking on Social Change competition.

“Not only is this a business issue for us, it’s really a broader social and economic opportunity that the financial services industry must address,” said Semenchuck.

The world’s poorest people, it turns out, can be a safer investment in these troubled financial times. Microfinance lending has avoided the temptation to loosen credit regulations that helped create the current financial crisis, and microcredit repayment rates remain very high.

Yunus?s Grameen Bank in Bangladesh has seen the fruits of opening banking to the bottom of the pyramid. Grameen’s borrowers, 97 percent of whom are women and mostly illiterate, have helped make the bank profitable by maintaining an incredible 98 percent loan repayment rate?a feat most traditional banks would envy. The bank currently boasts more than 2,500 branches in nearly 84,000 Bangladeshi villages.

That is definitely some good news for a change.

The Changemakers community is deeply committed to serving the bottom of the pyramid. Check out these winning ideas from the Banking on Social Change competition:

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      Fundaci?n Pro Vivienda Social, Argentina: Using a community-modeled financing system, this group helps low income rural residents get access to utilities and basic services by lowering costs and extending power lines and other infrastructure.

Sampoorna Suraksha, India:
This program, run by Sri Kshetra Dharmasthala Rural Development Project (SKDRDP), makes health care affordable for the poor by providing them with medical coverage without destroying their savings or forcing them to borrow at steep rates.
Pragathi Bandhu, India:
Also a project of SKDRDP, this initiative unites coalitions of small farmers to share their ideas and create a collective for their land and talents to reach better economies of scale.

“Most bankers have never believed that banks could serve the poor and the emerging middle-class in a profitable way,” said Jeff Semenchuk, Citigroup’s Executive Vice President & head of Growth Ventures and Innovations.

Bangladesh the ulimate destination of development possibility

Bangladesh the ulimate destination of development possibility,Needs only the leadership.

Many?analyst in the West consider Bangladesh as an example Muslim nation having growing democratic base. The recent past general election of December 29, 2008 was at the top of the items of several influential news media in the world.

For many reasons, people of Bangladesh enjoy the status of a proud nation. One of such is their struggle and sacrifice for mother language, which has already attained international acclamations and endorsements.

Bengalis by nature are very courageous. They live under various forms of natural and otherwise disasters, starting from flood, draught, cyclone, poverty to political instability. But, on the other hand, the country is extremely potential and resourceful with world?s richest mineral resources. Although western experts (serving the interest of corporate syndicates) continue to claim that the natural gas reserve in Bangladesh is quickly exhausting, according to a number of unpublished fact sheets, actual reserve of natural gas in the country is ?infinite?. On the other hand, there is a huge layer of petroleum resources right beneath the gas layer in the country.

St. Martin, a tiny island on Bay of Bengal is another important spot of attraction of many westerners for obvious reasons. It is believed that the island holds one of the largest stocks of uranium in the world. This will certainly be a valid question as to where these uranium resources will land. Whether in military establishments or industrial? Should Bangladesh properly understand its ?worth? by at least guessing what kind of resources its soil holds, the country will be able to not only make best use of its natural resources but bring a favorable economic change for its people.

St. Martin’s Island is a small island in the northeast part of the Bay of Bengal, about 9 km south of the tip of the Cox’s Bazar-Teknaf peninsula, and forming the southernmost part of Bangladesh. It is the only coral island in Bangladesh. It is about 8 km west of the northwest coast of Myanmar at the mouth of the Naf River. The local name of the island is “Narical Gingira”, also spelled “Narikel Jinjera”, translated from Bangla, meaning ‘Coconut Island’.

St. Martin’s Island has become a popular tourist spot. Currently, three shipping liners run daily trips to the island. Tourists can book their trip either from Chittagong or from Cox’s Bazar. The surrounding coral reef of the island has an extension named Chera Dwip.

In the past 5 years St. Martin’s visitor population has increased dramatically. While this situation has proven to be lucrative for the islanders, it is causing the natural beauty of the island to deteriorate. Presently there are many efforts being put forth to preserve the several endagered species of turtles that nest on the island, as well as the corals, some of which are found only on Narikel Jinjera. Pieces of the coral reef are being removed in order to be sold to tourists. Nesting turtles are sometimes taken for food, and their hatchlings are often distracted by the twinkling lights along the beach. Species of fish, a few just recently discovered, are being overfished. Every year the fishermen must venture further out to sea to get their catch. Most of them use motorless boats.

At high tide the island is about 3 miles around, and pinched in the middle. The island exists only because of its coral base, so removal of that coral risks erosion of the beaches. St. Martins has lost roughly 25% of its coral reef in the past 7 years.

Tourism experts believe, if Bangladeshi government could take extensive measures in transforming the entire island into an international tourism spot, taking examples from islands in Bahamas or Maldives, this tiny piece of island could contribute millions of dollars to Bangladesh economy every year. For this, the government needs to relocate the local residents of St. Martin to other places and allow all forms of tourist facilities including lifting ban on alcoholic beverages (for the foreigners), forming special security force for tourists as well build golf course and other tourist resorts. In such case, millions of dollars will flow in even during this global recession to this island from potential large foreign investors having interests in tourism sector.

But, Bangladeshi governments failed in past in taking measures favorable to tourism sector especially in attracting foreign tourists, as the country follows undeclared but strict Sharia laws in many sects. For example, in worlds largest Moslem nations like Indonesia, United Arab Emirates or Maldives, alcoholic beverage is not forbidden. Moslems avoid such beverage not due to ban but showing respect to their religious obligations. But, in Bangladesh, taking alcoholic beverage is considered to be a serious crime. This is exactly the same situation as many of the nations following Sharia law like Iran, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan etc. But, being a moderate Moslem nation, Bangladesh should certainly change its olden notions.

Few years back, a local entrepreneur established a factory to produce alcoholic beverage such as liqour, beer etc in Bangladesh. This venture was certainly aimed at substituting country?s substantial volume of import of such items, for selling in hand-picked number of duty free shops. Moreover, a local refinery owned by the government is continuing to produce local made Rum for decades.

The government instead of patronizing the venture by the private entrepreneur in producing beer, liquor etc, suddenly put a ban on the production at the mad demonstration of several Islamist parties. With this instance, just for appeasing the Islamists and fanatics, Bangladesh lost the potential opportunity of substituting import of alcoholic beverage thus saving millions of dollars while opening a new avenue of huge export earnings.

Bangladeshi governments always spoke of increasing tourism in the country. But they failed in understanding several important facts, which are related to such actions. They could have easily followed the examples of Maldives, UAE or Indonesia. Instead, and unfortunately, they followed radical Iran or other Sharia law countries.

Although Bengalis are very proud and bright nation, their political luck was never good. When the country was born in 1971 after nine-month?s war against the mighty Pakistan army, new government formed under the leadership of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman gave lots of hope and promises to the nation in upbuilding country?s economy; ensuring freedom of press and showing respect to citizen?s right

Recession and Bangladesh growth: IMF view

World recession impact on Bangladesh is soft and mind!!!!!

Bangladesh growth would be moderate: IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has predicted a moderate growth rate for Bangladesh in view of the global economic slowdown, which has dented the country’s exports.

At the same time, the IMF said Bangladesh seems to have benefited too from the global fall in prices of oil, food and other commodities as a result inflation in the country has come down to six percent, a two-year low.

?Overall, Bangladesh’s economy has so far remained relatively robust,” it said in a statement at the conclusion of its mission to Bangladesh from March 30 to April 2.

The IMF said the domestic economy has retained momentum from a favourable agricultural performance and it continues to benefit from the fall in food, fuel and other commodity prices.

Limited capital account dependence has largely protected the country’s banks and stock market from the first round impact of the global crisis.

However, pressures from the global slowdown continue to build and it is likely that growth will moderate, IMF said.

?Garment and other exports are slowing and garment export orders are now declining. Any significant slowdown in the export sector is likely to weigh heavily on the domestic economy through a reduction in demand for services, transport and construction,” it said

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Detail:

The following statement was issued today in Dhaka after the conclusion of an International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff visit to Bangladesh:

?A team led by Mr. Masato Miyazaki, Advisor in the Asia and Pacific Department of the IMF, visited Dhaka March 30 ? April 2, 2009 to discuss recent economic developments with the government and other stakeholders. The team was privileged to meet with Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Planning Minister AK Khandker, Advisor for Finance and Planning Dr. Mashiur Rahman, Bangladesh Bank Governor Dr. Salehuddin Ahmed, Finance Secretary Dr. Mohammad Tareque, NBR Chairman Md. Abdul Mazid, other senior government officials, and members of the private sector and civil society. The team expresses its deep appreciation to the authorities and others for sharing their valuable time for discussions.

?Overall, Bangladesh?s economy has so far remained relatively robust. The domestic economy has retained momentum from a favorable agricultural performance. Bangladesh continues to benefit from the fall in food, fuel and other commodity prices and this has helped bring inflation down to 6 percent, a two-year low. Limited capital account dependence has largely protected the country?s banks and stock market from the first round impact of the global crisis.

?However, pressures from the global slowdown continue to build and it now seems likely that growth will moderate. Garment and other exports are slowing and garment export orders are now declining. Any significant slowdown in the export sector is likely to weigh heavily on the domestic economy through a reduction in demand for services, transport and construction. Remittances remain robust but in recent months the number of workers leaving Bangladesh for employment abroad has declined and the number of workers returning from abroad has risen. These factors may put downward pressure on the current account of the balance of payments and increase the need for policies to maintain the momentum of domestic demand.

?The revised budget for FY2009 (July-June) and the budget for FY2010 should be formulated with a view to create the fiscal space necessary for contingent actions that may become necessary to help ease economic challenges to the population. This will be difficult in light of likely shortfalls in revenue in FY2009 and the fact that revenue prospects are likely to be very weak in FY2010 and future years without appropriate changes in tax policy and revenue administration. The upcoming budget provides the opportunity for the government to signal its major economic policy intentions. In this context, the new government should consider carefully revenue reforms to support government spending for infrastructure and social investment that, in turn, will boost the economy?s medium-term growth potential and accelerate poverty reduction. Further support for increased public investment should come through steps to develop a robust and transparent framework for public-private partnerships and strong efforts to streamline the project approval process and project implementation.

?Improving efficiency of financial markets is vital to bringing down the cost of financing growth. Recent expansion in the secondary market for government paper is an encouraging sign and should help with the emergence of a yield curve that can be used to help develop corporate bonds and other debt instruments. Dealing with distressed assets and enhancing the capital base of the state-owned commercial banks is needed to build and maintain confidence in the overall financial system. The government should assist these banks to clean up and strengthen their balance sheets while ensuring strengthened oversight of these banks.

?The mission looks forward to returning to Dhaka for the annual Article IV Consultation later in 2009.?

An important note from Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam Parvez’s to PM

chairmanBased on?a real good governance philosophy “the equitable distribution of wealth.” described by Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam Parvez. Through which prof Ahsan described the primary guideline for innitiative or awareness?to overcome the global recession and to overcome the political demand of?Bangladeshi Citizen.?
A Cautionary Note to Bangladesh?s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina- -Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam Parvez.

After a landslide victory you are assuming the premiership of Bangladesh when the world is facing one of the worst recession of contemporary history. There are good reasons to believe that Bangladesh will face the trauma of the global recession by late 2009. The have-nots and the poor people of our country will not be able to bear it. So you have no option but to be proactive and act in time to surprise the world. Your and our creator gave you a lifetime chance to write your name in gold as the world’s most benevolent lady prime minister by turning Bangladesh to a middle income country during your office this time as prime minister. You have to address the issue of income distribution and social justice in our country very thoughtfully. You should be the first Prime minister of Bangladesh with the aim of raising awareness and creating framings and visions that promote equal dignity for all citizens in the country you govern. Continue reading An important note from Prof. Syed Ahsanul Alam Parvez’s to PM