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Published: Monday, May 6, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Microfinance is a great investment

Dr. Martin Luther King won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work. Posthumously he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Gold Medal. There are only five others awarded all three of these honors. On April 17 that changed. Professor Muhammad Yunus received the Congressional Gold Medal in a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda; he already has the other two honors. Yunus received these honors because of his ground-breaking work with microfinance. The Grameen Bank he founded has given small loans to people who are considered to be not worthy of credit. He proved otherwise, with a repayment rate of over 90 percent of the billions of dollars loaned. This award comes as Congress decides what programs to fund in 2014. Microfinance is a poverty-focused program that is foreign aid well spent. It takes two-thirds of both houses of Congress to award this medal, showing that microfinance has support on both sides of the aisle, including both of our senators and most or our representatives. Aggressive funding of microfinance will make a difference to the 1.2 billion people still living on less than $1.25 a day and will go a long way to the goal of eradicating poverty.

Willie Dickerson
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