Grameen China and Zhongyuan Bank launch 6 branch Grameen microcredit program in Henan, China
Nobel Laureate Professor Muhamamd Yunus was the chief guest at a high level launch event of a six branch Grameen style microcredit program in Henan Province, China on February 26 which is a collaboration between Henan commercial bank Zhongyuan Bank and Grameen China to bring much needed financial services to the rural poor in that province. Zhongyuan Bank is a new bank in Henan that was created in 2014 but last year posted a profit of US$ 3 billion. The bank which will finance the loan capital and operations of the new initiative which will be implemented by Grameen China invited Professor Yunus to their headquarters in Zhengzhou in Henan province to meet with the Chairman of the Bank, its president and staff and discuss the collaboration. Henan is a province in central China and considered the cradle of Chinese civilization with a recorded history of more than 3,000 years. The launch event was addressed by the Secretary of Henan provincial government, the Chairman, also the President of the bank attended by around 250 dignitaries in Zhengzhou City.
Earlier in the day Professor Yunus and his delegation were received by the Mr Xie Fuzhan, Secretary of the Communist Party of China of the Henan Provincial Government at the Party Committee offices in Zhengzhou, the top political leader in this province which has a population of 100 million people. He thanked deeply Professor Yunus for his work on behalf of the poor around the world, and especially for his efforts in support of poverty alleviation efforts in China. He said Professor Yunus and his work and philosophy are well known and admired throughout China and that he was delighted to see the collaboration between Zhongyuan Bank and Grameen China. He pledged his support to the program, and introduced Professor Yunus to the senior-most members of the party committee who joined the meeting and who he said would be at Prof Yunus’ disposal for any help needed with running the program. Professor Yunus for his part congratulated the Secretary for China's commitment to poverty reduction and for their success in lifting 300 million poor people out of poverty in the last three decades, and said he would be delighted to support in any way the target that China has set for itself to remove poverty by 2020.
On the previous day in Beijing, Grameen China hosted a half day conference about the progress of Grameen microcredit in China that was attended by all the microcredit leaders in China discussing what have been the successes, challenges, and ways forward for the movement in China. The session was addressed by Prof Yunus as chief guest, by Professor Latifee and Mr Abdul Hai Khan of Grameen Trust which has been implementing microcredit in China since 1994, and by the senior representatives of the Chinese Association of Microfinance Du Xiaoshan and Bai Chengyu.
In addition to the launch of the microcredit program in Henan, Professor Yunus was also attended as chief guest the launch of the first Yunus Social Business Centre at a leading university in Beijing in Renmin University on February 25. The center is a collaboration between Renmin University and Yunus Centre, Bangladesh. The university organized a daylong conference on the occasion to discuss about the progress and prospects for microcredit and social business in China.