The Microfinance Revolution: An Overview

The Nobel Prize committee awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize to Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank "for their efforts to create economic and social development from below." The microfinance revolution has come a long way since Yunus first provided financing to the poor in Bangladesh. The committee has recognized microfinance as "an important liberating force" and an "ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty." Although several authors have provided comprehensive surveys of microfinance, our aim is somewhat more modest: This article is intended as a non-technical overview on the growth and development of microcredit and microfinance.