Corporates must invest more in social businesses: Nobel laureate

April 14th, 2008 - 7:58 pm ICT by admin  

(Gulf Business Capsule)

Dubai, April 14 (IANS) Corporates can help reduce poverty by investing more in social businesses, according to Nobel laureate and founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus. “Instead of spending money sponsoring football and cricket matches and concerts, public relations activities or charities in the name of corporate social responsibilities, companies can actually help change the world in freeing it up from poverty by investing in social businesses that will run like proper businesses with a social cause,” Yunus told delegates at the International Islamic Finance Forum in Dubai.

“By simply putting away part of the proceeds, the large corporates could provide social services to the people that won’t harm their growth. In turn, this will help the societies move ahead.”

Grameen Bank offers the poor interest-free loans of $15 with no time limit for repayment.

Yunus also highlighted his philosophy of the bank that rejects the rich and seeks out the poor to become its customers.

The Grameen Bank has issued more than $5.1 billion in loans to 5.3 million borrowers, maintaining a hugely successful repayment rate of 99 percent.

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Oman plans rail network

Oman is planning to build a rail network, according to Ahmad Bin Abdul Nabi Macki, minister of national economy and deputy chairman of national affairs and energy resources council.

“We have appointed consultants to carry out a feasibility study for a railway network in Batinah region,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the Oman Economic Forum.

He said the network initially would be from Sohar to Birka in the north of Muscat.

“It will be a 200-km railway and in future would be extended from Sohar to Duqum,” the Gulf News quoted him as saying.

He also added that Birka would be the hub of container traffic after the railway project is completed.

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IMF warns Gulf economies of ‘geopolitical uncertainties’

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in a report, has warned the Gulf countries of “regional geopolitical uncertainties” that could pose substantial risks to the Gulf economies.

It also warned of a “possible asset price bubble”, according to the Gulf News.

“Inflation pressures in the region have risen considerably in recent months, owing to strong domestic demand, rising food prices, and higher rents in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, where a large influx of expatriate workers and the growing prosperity of local residents have caused a housing shortage,” the IMF report said.

The UAE’s consumer price index (CPI) inflation, at above nine percent, is at a 19-year high, that “remains a growing concern” along with other countries in the Middle East, according to the IMF’s latest half-yearly World Economic Outlook released recently.

A possible asset price bubble, regional geopolitical uncertainties and a global slowdown that resulted in a substantial drop in oil prices pose substantial risks to the Gulf economies, it said.

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