Dr. Muhammad Amjad Saqib of Pakistan, who is renowned for his “first-of-its-kind” interest- and collateral-free microfinance programme that has benefited millions of poor families, was one of Tuesday’s winners of Asia’s Nobel Prize equivalent.
The pioneer of microfinance was one of five recipients of the Ramon Magsaysay Award, named for a former Filipino president who died in a plane crash.
Saqib is the founder and executive director of Akhuwat. Nearly two decades after its inception, Akhuwat has grown to become the country’s largest microfinance institution, disbursing the equivalent of $900 million and boasting a loan repayment rate of nearly 100 percent, according to the award foundation.
Saqib was commended for his “inspiring conviction that human goodness and solidarity will find a way to eradicate poverty.”
The Ramon Magsaysay Award was established in 1957 to recognize individuals and organizations addressing development issues.
It was held virtually this year following the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the coronavirus pandemic.