Dhaka, Bangladesh
Micro-credit model getting popularity in South Africa

Micro-credit model getting popularity in South Africa

The interview has been taken by Imtiaz Ahmed

Says Robina P Marks, South African non-resident high commissioner to Bangladesh South Africa has successfully replicated micro-credit model in its country to combat poverty and uplift the living standard of poor people, said Robina P Marks, South African non-resident high commissioner to Bangladesh, while talking to a group of journalists at a city hotel recently. She said the microcredit model has been successfully introduced in her country to alleviate sufferings of the poor. In the interview Robina P Marks mentioned that Grameen Bank founder Professor Muhammad Yunus in July, 2009 met the great South African leader and Nobel Laureate, Nelson Mandela, in Johannesburg. In that meeting, Prof Yunus explained the Grameen Bank model to Mandela, especially the concept of creating social businesses to alleviate poverty. Prof Yunus engaged with entrepreneurs, young people, business people and microfinance institutions during his visit to South Africa as part of taking part in a weeklong dialogue in 2009. Prof Yunus also delivered the Seventh Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, on the theme of investing for society's marginalised people. Meanwhile, Robina P Marks, South African High Commissioner, presented her credentials to President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban. Robina P Marks also called on Jatiya Party chairman and former president HM Ershad at his Baridhara residence in the city recently. The South African High Commissioner said the total volume of bilateral trade of Bangladesh and South Africa is around 300 million USD and the trade is in favour of SA. In recent times, a business delegation comprising EPB officials and private entrepreneurs visited some African countries including South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia to explore markets there. As Bangladesh was largely dependent on the US and the European Union markets for its garment exports, it could now make attempts to explore the African markets, she said. She praised hospitality of Bangladeshi people that was rendered to her during her visit to Dhaka. To a question, she said that her government is deeply considering setting up a diplomatic mission in Dhaka to help boost trade and business. Nandos is a popular food chain store of South Africa. This chain has also got popularity in Bangladesh. Citing South Africa's vast experience in mineral resource, high commissioner told the journalists that her country is deeply interested in this sector. After the international court verdict on Indian Ocean, Bangladesh has got tremendous prospects in developing sea resources. Praising Bangladesh's economic success over the years, the high commissioner said that Bangladesh is set to become a lower middle income country by 2021 and a member of the developed country by 2041. South African high commissioner praised Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina under whose leadership Bangladesh has made remarkable progress in different social, economic, cultural sectors. Bangladesh's gross domestic product (GDP) growth reached 7.24 percent this fiscal year, beating all the previous records in the history of the country's economy, according to a provisional estimate by BBS. The South African High Commissioner expressed the views that terrorism is a threat to global peace and security and can strike any country any time, including Bangladesh, as the country tragically experienced horror at the Gulshan attacks. The high commissioner said that threat of terrorism is complex and unpredictable, and it is important to make use of a variety of tools at the national as well as international level in the fight against terrorism. She praised the Bangladesh government and its law enforcement agencies for taking different measures in ensuring the security of the diplomats and other residents in the diplomatic enclave especially after the tragic Cafe attack. South African high commissioner said that her country is committed to the international cooperation in combating terrorism and would be a willing partner to Bangladesh countering threats of terrorism. On terrorism, she said it a global challenge that both developed and developing countries are facing nowadays. South Africa is interested in closely working with Bangladesh on combating terrorism and sharing information on intelligence report and training of law enforcing agencies. Like developed countries, her country is also facing the crisis of illegal migrants as several thousand illegal immigrants including illegal Bangladeshis have entered the African country. However, the high commissioner highly praised the legal Bangladeshis working in different sectors. Meanwhile, South Africa continued to receive asylum applications during 2016 from people coming from farther away, including 2,800 individuals from Bangladesh, says a new global report. The country also received asylum applications from people coming from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (5,300), Ethiopia (4,800, Nigeria (3,300), and Somalia (1,600). South Africa was a recipient of a large number of new individual asylum claims, receiving 35,400 in 2016, according to a report published on Monday by UNHCR ahead of the World Refugee Day that falls on June 20. While claims from people from Zimbabwe remained the most numerous (8,000), this was less than half the number received the previous year (17,800) and substantially fewer than in 2009 (149,500). South Africa is deeply interested in setting up a world standard maritime university to groom necessary manpower required in the deep sea exploration. The high commissioner expressed the views that Bangladesh's blue economy holds tremendous prospects as the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague delivered its verdict approving Bangladesh's claim on 19,467 square kilometers in the sea water out of 25,602 square kilometers. Bangladesh won its maritime suit against India that sustains more than 1,18,813 squire kilometers of water comprising territorial sea, exclusive economic zone, extending out 200-nautical-mile across sizable area and also 29 undesirable sovereign rights in the seabed extending as far as 354 -nautical-mile of Chittagong port in the bay of Bengal. Foreign Affairs Minister AH Mahmood Ali divulged the verdict of The Permanent Court of Arbitration and urged India to accept the verdict and said the verdict would help resolve the territorial problems in the Bay in 2014. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague delivered its verdict approving Bangladesh's claim on 19,467 square kilometers in the sea water out of 25,602 square kilometers, the foreign minister said. The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague delivered its verdict on Bangladesh-India maritime boundary dispute and handed it over to the respective governments. Dhaka and New Delhi have been locked in the maritime boundary disputes over 10 gas blocks in the Bay of Bengal as both the countries have been claiming the area to be their own. On October 8, 2009, Dhaka moved for arbitral proceeding concerning the maritime boundary dispute with India and served an arbitration notice upon New Delhi Later in May 2010, the then foreign minister Dipu Moni filed a case with the UNCLOS seeking its arbitration on maritime dispute with India. The country won a landmark verdict against Myanmar on March 14, 2012 at the International Tribunal for the Law of the Seas and through the verdict the country sustained its claim to the 200 nautical-miles and exclusive economic and territorial waters in the Bay of Bengal. Laying stress on dialogues to narrow political rivalry, high commissioner expressed her hope that political parties in Bangladesh will be engaged in continuous dialogue to find out a peaceful solution to the political problems. She is against street movement to solve political crises and realize various demands, rather she hopes that through discussion and dialogues political parties would remove differences. South Africa took years after years to establish democracy in its country. Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for 27 years as a result of his efforts to bring racial harmony and equality to South Africa. He began his efforts as soon as he graduated from law school and founded the first black law firm in the country in 1952. As unrest spread in the 1950s and 1960s, Mandela found himself the target of law enforcement efforts, and after he secretly left South Africa to gain aid and training for the struggle, he was picked up and jailed until Feb. 11, 1990. On 27 April 1994, South Africa held its first democratic elections. The ANC won the election with 62.65 % of the vote. The National Party (NP) received 20.39 %, Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) 10.54 %, Freedom Front (FF) 2.2 %, Democratic Party (DP) 1.7 %, Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) 1.2 % and the African Christian Democratic Party 0.5 %. On 10 May 1994, Nelson Mandela, at the age of 77, was sworn in as South Africa's first black president and F W de Klerk became Mandela's first deputy. Although the ANC gained a majority vote, they formed the Government of National Unity (GNU), headed by Mandela. In 1994, Mandela published an autobiography titled "Long Walk to Freedom" which he secretly wrote while in prison. He also published a number of books on his life and struggles, among them "No Easy Walk to Freedom;Nelson Mandela: the Struggle is my Life" and "Nelson Mandela's Favourite African Folktales".In 1995, he was awarded the Order of Merit by FIFA for bringing South Africa back in the international football.

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