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Bangladeshi Anti-Poverty Banker Wins 2006 Nobel Peace Prize

Muhammad Yunus and the Bangladesh bank he set up 30 years ago have been jointly awarded the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize.

Muhammad Yunus, dubbed the "banker to the poor," has been awarded this year's top Nobel honor, along with the bank he established in 1976.

What Yunus struck upon was a key tool in the fight against poverty, the issuing of so-called micro-credit; credit given to those too poor to qualify for traditional loans.

In Oslo, Nobel Committee head Ole Danbolt Mjoes says Yunus has been inspirational in transforming lives through his credit plan which in turn also serves to build democracy and strengthens human rights.

"Muhammad Yunus has shown himself to be a leader who has managed to translate visions into practical action for the benefit of millions of people, not only in Bangladesh, but also in many other countries," he said. "Loans to poor people without any financial security had appeared to be an impossible idea. From modest beginnings three decades ago, Yunus has first and foremost through Grameen Bank, developed micro-credit into an ever more important instrument in the struggle against poverty. Grameen bank has been a source of ideas and models for the many institutions in the field of micro-credit that have sprung up around the world."

In his tireless effort to root out poverty, Yunus gives out credit to poor people without security. His Grameen Bank now has some 6.5 million borrowers, most of them women.

In addition, his bank also gives out nearly 30,000 scholarships to poor students annually.

His aim is to empower a whole new generation of men and women and his model is being adapted elsewhere.

The Grameen Foundation now has a network of 52 partners in 22 countries helping millions in Africa, the Americas and in the Middle East.