November 24, 2006

Development Strategy: More Business not Aid

We have heard from Dr. Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank, that aid breaks poor peoples morales and providing them chance to do business (with Microcredit) can dignify them and they can take the charge of their lives.

The Co-founder of the Grameen Phone (where Yunus's Grameen Telecom has stakes) Iqbal Quadir says:

Aid from western countries has mostly empowered governments, distancing them from their citizens who are left helpless. Historically, people rose from below through technological empowerment and then they participated in their governance, leading to service-oriented governments. That's what created healthier societies with checks and balances.

Quadir unequivocally disagrees with the conventional wisdom that poor countries need aid and charity. Instead, he says, "What they need are businesses. Commerce is development."

Amit Varma hails Quadir and adds:

"People often wrongly equate free markets with big, rapacious companies, but to me, free markets have always been about the little guy. When there's economic freedom, businesses spring up, consumers have more choice, employment grows, and getting jobs is easier. Inevitably, prosperity results. People have more to spend, so they spend more. More money in the economy, more business, more employment. It's a virtuous cycle."

Thats why we need more entrepreneurs and visionaries like Yunus and Quadir.


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