(AFP) – Oct 13, 2008
DHAKA (AFP) — Bangladeshi economist and Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus has warned his country is likely to be badly hit by the global financial crisis.
Speaking at a seminar late Sunday, Yunus said the world was being hit by a "financial tsunami" that would not spare impoverished Bangladesh.
"We are having a crisis at hand. The format of global financial system is going down. And we will not be able to escape it," he said.
"The financial crisis will hit us soon and the poorest people will suffer the most. I hope we are prepared to face the heat," Yunus said.
The former economics professor said Bangladesh faced a squeeze on its garment exports to the United States and Europe as well as on remittances sent by its over five million overseas workers.
In the 2007-8 financial year ended in June, Bangladesh exported 10.7 billion dollars of garments -- 76 percent of the country's annual exports. More than 90 percent of garments were shipped to the US and the European Union.
The country, where more than 40 percent of the 144 million population live below poverty line, is also heavily dependent on the money sent by its army of overseas workers. In the 2007-8 financial year, they sent home nearly eight billion dollars, or 12 percent of the country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Yunus and his Grameen Bank were honoured with the Nobel peace award in 2006 for efforts to lift people out of extreme poverty by giving them small loans.
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