Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus addressed the opening ceremony of 17th Microcredit Summit in Merida, Mexico from September 3-5, 2014. The program focused on the theme “Generation Next: Innovations in Micro-finance.” The program was held in Merida, the capital of Yucatan state, located in the heartland of the Mayan civilization with the support of the Ministry of Economy (Mexico) and its national micro-enterprise financing program (PRONAFIM).
The Summit was opened by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Mexican Minister of Economy, Ildefonso Guajardo Villarreal and Yucatan Governor Rolando Rodrigo Zapata Bello.
The Summit participants were asked to make campaign commitments to reach those living in extreme poverty and facilitate their movement out of poverty. Those who attended engaged them in deep discussion, knowledge sharing and relationship towards poverty reduction and full financial inclusion for the billions that remain unbanked and excluded from the system. In particular the Summit discussed how to cultivate the next generation of financial leaders who can use the new tools of connectivity and measurement to reach those left out of our current financial system including what could be the role of government, commercial business, social business, civil society to address the needs of the poor and the vulnerable.
Professor Yunus addressed a plenary session at the Summit on “Reaching the Excluded” at the Summit. He also chaired two panels entitled “Microfinance as Social Business” and “Turning Unemployment into Entrepreneurship” focused on the problem of youth unemployment.
Constitutional Governor of the State of Yucatan Rolando Rodrigo Zapata Bello appointed Nobel Laureate Dr. Yunus as his honorary Economic Advisor. The Governor also extended a standing invitation to Professor Yunus to participate in the Global Mayan conference which takes place every year in October in Yucatan.
During the Summit, Professor Yunus met with the executive director and other managers of the Arab Gulf Program for Development (AGFUND) which has created 8 microfinance banks in eight MENA countries following the methodology of Grameen Bank. Interviews and speeches of Prof. Yunus were widely covered in print and electronic media.
The Summit was attended by 900 delegates from 75 countries including 21 participants representing Grameen organizations, BRAC, PKSF, CDF, BDI and others.