Dubai: Bangladeshi economist Dr Mohammad Younus and the microcredit institution he founded 30 years ago won the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize yesterday.

"I'm very happy," the anti-poverty pioneer said in a statement obtained by Gulf News yesterday. "This is an achievement for the entire nation ... Today the world will recognise Bangladesh. It will inspire me to greater work and encourage me to do more for poverty alleviation. There should be no poverty, anywhere."

Younus, 66, set up the Grameen Bank in 1976 to lend to the neediest, particularly women, in Bangladesh, enabling them to start up small businesses without collateral. In doing so, he pioneered microcredit, a system copied in more than 100 nations from the United States to Uganda, and earned the nickname "banker to the poor".

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, development groups and political leaders around the world also hailed the new Nobel laureate, the first Nobel Peace Prize bestowed on a Bangladeshi.

Widening definition

Although Younus and his Grameen Bank is being credited with lifting more than half of the 6.61 million borrowers out of the poverty line, the Norway-based Nobel Committee yesterday rewarded him and the institution for Peace, instead of Economy.

"Lasting peace cannot be achieved unless large population groups find ways in which to break out of poverty," the Nobel Committee said in its citation.

"A person doesn't have to be rich to become creditworthy. Credit should be accepted as a human right," Younus told Gulf News in an earlier interview. "Credit is the last hope left to those faced with absolute poverty. That is why I believe that the right to credit should be recognised as a fundamental human right," he said.

Younus said later in the day he would donate all his $1.4 million (Dh5.14 million) prize money to good causes. He said he would use the money to fund a project to produce low-cost, nutritious food for the poor, an eye hospital, a drinking water project and a health care scheme. "These will be purely social business enterprises, i.e. not-for-profit organisations," he said.

In Dhaka, hundreds of friends and admirers gathered at Younus's residence with flowers and garlands as greetings poured in.

Your comments

Cogratulations to Mr Younus.
Al Ain,UAE

Being a Bangladeshi, I am so proud of Dr Younus. Many many hearty congratulations to him. It's really the biggest achievement that Bangladesh has ever had. This is an achievement for the whole nation.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Congratulations to Dr Younus on his achievement for the peace award.

Congratulations for your great achievement. All of us Bangladeshis are proud of you.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Being a Bangladeshi, I am so proud of Dr Younus and Grameen Bank. Many many hearty congratulations to Mr Younus. It's really the biggest achievement that Bangladesh has ever had. This is an achievement for the whole nation.Long Live Dr Yunus, Long Live Bangladesh.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Great job Dr Yunus, I wish you could do more and more. May God give you a long life to keep up the good work for all. Salute from all Indians.

I hope that Bankers in other countries should learn a lesson from such a modest man. Dr. Mohammed Younis can be a good mentor to all the Bankers. Good Luck to Dr Younis. May God Bless you. You are a shining star for the poor of the world.

Thank you Dr Younus for taking us higher in the world by winning the Nobel award for peace. We are all proud of you.

Congradulations. You deserve what you got.

Congratulations! I hope all people can develop like you.

Congratulations to Mr Younus. It's a pleasure for our nation. May God continue to grant you similar successes all through your life.

CONGRATULATIONS to Dr Younus and Grameen Bank. Through this great acheivment we hope proverty will run away from the poor .Long live Dr Younus.

As a Bangladeshi, Mr Younus, you make me and my Bangladesh feel very proud. May God bless, guard and guide you always.
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE

Congratulations to Mr Mohammed Younus. We should be proud that our Asian sector has such a man who has given half his life to poverty alleviation. His Nobel prize will be a positive sign and will encourage him to do more work on poverty and alleviation.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Congratulations to Mr Yunus. I hope such a banking system can also be deployed in another poor third world country. I saw in my own village how poor women changed their lives thanks to the help of this bank.

My greatest respect to Dr Younus. May Allah bless him to work more for the rural sectors. I wish him success like mountain in our poor country Will never advice you to join to the nasty politics of Bangladesh.

Mohammad Younas changes the definition of peace, banking and finance.

Heartiest Congratulations to Professor Mr. Younus. It is a great, great achievement to Bangladesh. Grameen Bank model should be followed all over the world in order to eliminate poverty. I am proud of Mr Yunus as a Bangladeshi.
Dubai,United Arab Emirates

It is amazing to have such a man in this day and age, where greed rather than generosity seems to be the flavour of the day. Congratulations and all the very best with your future endeavours.

Congratulations to Mr Yunus. It's a pleasure for our nation. May God continue to grant you similar successes throughout your life.

Great job Mr Younus and congratulations. We need people like you in this world and hope that many other countries and people will work with you.

Thanks to Dr Younus for his extraordinary economical theory and success. His micro-credit banking (Grameen Bank) is a model to be followed to overcome poverty world-wide. His Nobel peace prize winning is also another glorious addition to the history of 'Bengoli' earning international achievements and enriching the pride of south Asians.

We are proud of Dr Yunus. His imagination is leading millions of poor not only in Bangladesh but also many more countries.

UNDP, ADB and the government of Bangladesh should place him in a position from where Dr Yunus can suggest and implement his thoughts to fight against poverty in the country.

Being a Bangladeshi myself, I share the pride of winning the Nobel Peace prize by Dr Younus and Grameen Bank, and congratulae them on their success. This award is a recognition of the fact that Bangladeshi people are peace loving and working together as a nation for a better future. I sincerely hope and pray that many others will follow the footsteps of Dr. Younus and participate in the poverty alleviation and peace process at every corner of the world.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

I am touched to know what Dr ohammad Younus did and achieved in 30 years. Be it for peace or the economy, the more relevant thing is that his struggle to help poor is acknowledged and recognised on an international level. He might not have been a very rich man himself, but he put in so much into what he believed and had ambition and a heart to do. What if all the millionaires all over the world can put in $1 million each into projects like those of Dr. Younus in their own countries, I wonder if the world would change for ever for the good. I congratulate Dr Younus for this award.

He deserves this award because he is doing something good for the upliftment of the poor. My heartiest congratulations to Mr Younis and his country. Keep on doing the good work. Almighty god will always bless you.

We are happy and proud for Dr Younus. This is our nation's achievement. We want poverty alleviation.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

It is really a noble cause. People should be encouraged to do this sort of thing in life.

Grameen bank is a story of great passion and commitment. Obviously, Mohammad Younas did it without aiming for a prize. However, this award is a clear albiet late recognition for the wonderfull contributions he had made. A noble prize for a nobel cause!

Thank you Mr. Younus. I am very happy that you got a nobel prize. I hope you will work for national peace.

Congratulations Dr Younus. We are always proud of you.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Being a Bangladeshi girl, I'm so proud of Dr. Younus, beyond any words. In the midst of all this corruption, we find very few extraordinary people who work selflessly for the peace of society and the world. I wish him all the best.
Dr Simi
Abu Dhabi,UAE

My hearty congratulations to Mr. Mohammed Younus on your achievements done for the poor.

Great Job. Work Hard.
Md Islam

Many many hearty congratulations to Mr Younus. It's really the biggest achievement that Bangladesh has ever had. And it'll really make all Bangladeshi proud.

Well done Dr Mohammad Younis. Keep up the good work for a noble cause.

We are very Happy. Pray for his long life.

Congratulations Sir, I'm proud of you as a Muslim and as a South Asian-American. Thank you.
New York,USA

Wow ... Inspirational ...

Congratulations in recognition of Dr. Younu's achievement for the peace award.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

Congratulations to Mr Yunus. I hope such a banking system can also be developed in other poor Islamic countries. Mr Yunus' bank helped the poor and women to alleviate and dignify their lives.
New York,USA