“Poverty should not be found in any human society, it should only be seen in museums” - Yunus
10 July 2014, Rome – “Poverty should not belong to any human society, it should only be seen in museums, ” Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus said at an FAO Partnerships Dialogue on the concept of ‘Social Business for Sustainable Solutions,’ held today.
“I share many beliefs with FAO Director-General. He wants to achieve the Zero Hunger challenge and I want to bring poverty to zero,” he said, noting that “they are two sides of the same coin.”
“Every time I see a problem I try to solve it in a creativeway, and I have always found that the best way is to create a business,” Yunus said.
“You start a simple thing, it works for people and it grows,” the Nobel Laureate said. “Then you replicate it and that is how it becomes a social business.”
Yunus said his aim is to create a world without poverty and without unemployment, “where unemployment should be itself unemployed”.
Founder of the Grameen Bank, the Bangladeshi economist pioneered the concepts of microcredit and microfinance. In 2006, Professor Yunus and the Grameen Bank were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize "for their efforts through microcredit to create economic and social development from below".
This system was responsible for giving means and tools to poor communities to access financial products and services. “Social entrepreneurs view the world’s poorest people as comprising the world’s largest under-served market, a massive opportunity and a moral imperative, ” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva said at the event.
The concept of "social business" is based on what Yunus calls a "non-loss, non-dividend" business model that has the ultimate goal of creating widely-shared social benefits.
This concept supersedes the idea of mere corporate social responsibility, as it aims to change an entire system and provide solutions to pressing social problems such as poverty and malnutrition.
In 2013 FAO and the Grameen Foundation established a partnership to enhance small-holder farmers' access to knowledge and technologies for sustainable production and food security through the use of mobile agriculture supported services.
The collaboration has had a positive impact in countries like Uganda and Colombia, where it has improved farming innovation exchanges and strengthened small-holder households by allowing them to gaining better access to rural financial services.