In 2009, the Penang state government decided to help small businesses by providing access to microcredit. More than two years later, the man in charge of this programme, Iskandar Basha, oversees a repayment rate of 100%. Now, he has to maintain that level of success.
Poverty eradication has always been a tall order, and approaches to do so over the years have been subject to much debate.
You may have heard of Prof Muhammad Yunus and his microcredit programme in Bangladesh. An economics professor by training, he was appalled by the dire living conditions of the Bangladeshi poor. In the village of Jobra, he discovered that the women were constantly living under the oppression of their creditors who would loan them money to buy raw materials. In exchange, the creditors would force these women to sell their finished products back to them at a suppressed price.
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