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Coronavirus

Nobel laureate Yunus sees COVID-19 as chance to redesign economy

Bangladeshi microcredit founder says common interest must now take precedence

Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, says that economic thinking has focused on business as something that is pursued out of self-interest. But he stresses that now more emphasis should be placed on the common interest.

TOKYO -- Besides causing human suffering and economic loss, the coronavirus pandemic has brought about stark divisions within individual countries as well as internationally. But the COVID-19 crisis provides a huge opportunity to redesign economics, finance and society on a global scale, Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and founder of Bangladeshi microfinance organization Grameen Bank, said in an interview with the Nikkei Asian Review.

Yunus has dedicated his life to spreading microcredit programs in both Bangladesh and the wider world. In the 1970s he visited a poor village as an economist and gained a fuller sense of the plight of his country's rural areas. He established Grameen Bank in 1983 to offer unsecured loans to the poorest people and provide them with capital to go into business and foster self-sufficiency.

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