Historical archive

Congratulations to Nobel Peace Prize winners

Historical archive

Published under: Stoltenberg's 2nd Government

Publisher Ministry of Foreign Affairs

- I am very pleased that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has paid this tribute to Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank. They have provided concrete and down-to-earth help that has enabled millions of people to rise out of poverty, said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. - I am delighted by this decision. It is appropriate and important that the Nobel Committee has highlighted the key importance of development and the fight against poverty in peace efforts, said Minister of International Development Erik Solheim. (13.10.06)

Press release

No.: 132/06
Date: 13.10.06

Norway’s Foreign Minister and Minister of International Development congratulate Nobel Peace Prize winners

“I am very pleased that the Norwegian Nobel Committee has paid this tribute to Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. “They have provided concrete and down-to-earth help that has enabled millions of people to rise out of poverty. The Grameen Bank is one of the most important examples of successful development assistance. It has created a microcredit model that is being copied all over the world.

“The award of this prize is very pleasing, and I would like to offer my warmest congratulations to Professor Muhammad Yunus and the Grameen Bank,” said International Development Minister Erik Solheim. “I nominated Professor Yunus for the Nobel Peace Prize in the 1990s, when I was a member of the Storting (the Norwegian parliament), so I am delighted by this decision. It is appropriate and important that the Nobel Committee has highlighted the key importance of development and the fight against poverty in peace efforts.

“This is an enormously creative contribution to the development debate. It is obvious that improving people’s living conditions is an important factor in creating peace. I am very happy, therefore, that the Nobel Committee is directing focus to this issue. Microcredit is something this Government gives priority to – and will give greater priority to in the future.”

The Grameen Bank is represented throughout Bangladesh, and 97 per cent of its total of six million borrowers are women. This says a lot about what the bank means to poor women. Its lending model is based on respect, and confidence in what poor women can achieve and in their ability to create a better future for themselves if they are only given the opportunity. This is a ground-breaking concept in many places.

The Nobel Committee has thus paid a tribute not only to the Grameen Bank and its founder, but also to the poor themselves.

Norway has provided NOK 400 million to the Grameen Bank over a ten-year period. It was one of the first countries to believe in the concept, and provided funding until the bank was able to stand on its own feet.

Professor Muhammad Yunus
Photo: Fabrice Cofrini / Scanpix