Yunus Discusses Social Business Collaboration with Dominican Republic Vice President
Yunus Centre Press Release (17 March, 2017)
Proposes Social Business Solution to Tackle Plastic Particles in Food Chain
Vice- President of the Dominican Republic, Dr Margaret Fernandez had a meeting with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at the Presidential Palace on March 16, 2017. During his meeting with the Caribbean country's vice president, Professor Yunus discussed issues of youth unemployment, women entrepreneurship, reforestation, entrepreneurship and marketing of rurally produced products from small entrepreneurs. The Vice President then moved to a broader meeting including her top advisors, experts, and officials of various ministries. They made a presentation on the rural women development programmes which are undertaken during past eight years. It was mentioned at the presentation that many of the programmes are inspired by the work of Professor Muhammad Yunus. After elaborate discussions it was decided that that Vice President will again have working meeting on March 17. She invited Professor Yunus to create a joint team to initiate social businesses in Dominican Republic, particularly on afforestation and youth entrepreneurship development. These were discussed two days later in another meeting presided by the Vice President at the Presidential Palace. A joint working team was formed to identify, formulate and implement social businesses in Dominican Republic. She admired the work done by Yunus social Business in Haiti, the other half of the same caribbean island. She highlighted the importance of Dominican Republic in the history and culture of Latin America. Columbus landed in Bahamas in 1492, but the first European permanent settlement established in the entire continent was in Santo Domingo in 1496. Santo Domingo became the entry point of European settlements and military power all over the continent. It was first city to establish the first cathedral, first university, first chamber of commerce in the entire continent. Columbus built his house in this city where his son lived. His house is still the centre of attraction of all visitors visiting Santo Domingo.
Later Professor Yunus delivered his keynote speech at the ‘Second International Conference of Chamber of Commerce’. The conference was organized by Santo Domingo Chamber of Commerce, country’s apex body of all businesses. About 400 high profile participants including international and local business leaders, ministers, academicians were in the audience. It was inaugurated by the Vice President who along with Finance minister, foreign minister and other ministers remained in the audience to listen to the opening speech delivered by Professor Yunus.
During his speech, Professor Yunus outlined what businesses can do to solve problems by creating social businesses. He pointed out the danger of plastic waste. “If we do not do anything about plastic use, the life in the planet will find it difficult to survive”, he added. He brought attention to the research findings that says 8 million tons of plastic waste every year is produced every year and bulk of it find its way to a site in the Pacific ocean called Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Microscopic plastic particles are now found in the ocean fish in the form of micro granules. These plastic granules now have found a place in our food chain through the ocean fish we eat. Most horrifying news of all is that in a recent research scientists have identified plastic microfibre in some city's drinking water supply. Professor Yunus called for urgent actions to reverse the trend. He asked for creative thinking for developing social business ideas to contribute to the solutions of this problem. He told the audience that he along with others are initiating a social business initiative to clean-up plastic from Mekong river in Vietnam in collaboration with WWF.