(Wed. 25 Oct.2006):-The Chinese government has invited Muhammad Yunus, founder of
the Grameen Bank and 2006 winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, to apply for a license
to open a micro-credit institution in the country. Yunus is in Beijing to participate
in a conference on micro-finance, where he has voiced concerns because China so far,
only allows micro-credit groups in its territory to lend money, not to take deposits.
Graeen Bank however insists it is impossible to press ahead with development through
micro-credit without the option of taking deposits from farmers. It is in Beijing’s
interest to develop rural areas as their underdevelopment is a source of social unrest.
Du Xiaoshan, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development
Institute, said the Chinese government was interested in the experiments of the Grameen
Bank, but time was needed to reach agreement. Yunus also expressed interest in projects
in Chinese rural areas but said China needed to implement legislation pertaining to
micro-credit institutions. If this takes place, China would become the world’s largest
arena for the implementation of micro-credit ventures. According to the World Bank,
there are more than 350 million people in China, mostly peasants, living below the