Her Majesty Queen Sofia of Spain, and the founder of Grameen Bank, Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus, opened the “V Global Microcredit Summit” at a ceremony that also featured the participation of Soraya Rodríguez, Spanish Secretary of State for Development Cooperation; Trinidad Jiménez, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs; Sam Daley-Harris, Director of the World Microcredit Campaign; Juan Vicente Herrera, President of the Autonomous Government of Castilla y León; and Francisco Javier León de la Riva, Mayor of Valladolid.
At the inauguration, Queen Sofía said that “the world of microfinance and this Summit are absolutely necessary” to achieve the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals and reduce by half the number of people living on less than one dollar a day. The Queen highlighted that “Spain has become the second largest donor [to the microfinance sector] in the world.”
Prof. Yunus said that “microcredit is a way of helping future generations, because they are the future.” Yunus expressed regret that the crisis had forced decisions to be made that affected microcredit. “Dark clouds are gathering and they will not go away; they will create frustration and disappointment, a great deal of unemployment and tension” in various governments in the Western world. Against this backdrop of dark clouds, he argued that “microcredit is a shining hope, creating light at the end of the tunnel.”
At the inauguration, the Director of the Global Microcredit Summit Campaign stated that microcredit restores the value of people and frees them from hunger and despair. Sam Daley-Harris criticised those who focus microcredit as a sole means of redemption.
The Spanish Secretary of State for Development Cooperation highlighted that 1.4 billion people live on less than one euro a day and that among the poorest people, eight out of every ten are women. Soraya Rodríguez stressed the “courage, bravery and tenacity” of professor Yunus and emphasised that microfinance “opens up a window of opportunity,” adding that “we need ideas and this Global Summit is a unique opportunity.”
The Microcredit Summit Campaign aims to reach 175 million of the world’s poorest families by 2015 and ensure that 100 million of those families move above the World Bank’s $1.25-a-day poverty threshold.