>>Authored by Dr. D.S.K. Rao, Regional Director for Asia-Pacific
We learned recently that a great friend of the Microcredit Summit Campaign died of lung cancer earlier this month. Dr. Harihar Dev Pant, a pioneer of microfinance in Nepal, started his career in microfinance as a deputy director in the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB, the country’s central bank), and went on to found one of the largest microfinance banks in Nepal, Nirdhan Utthan Bank Ltd. He was its chairman and CEO till near the end.
As the deputy governor of the central bank, Dr. Pant laid the foundation for microcredit in Nepal. Dr. Pant was greatly influenced by Prof. Muhammad Yunus (to the right) and was indoctrinated by the Nobel laureate into microfinance.
As the deputy governor he was responsible in creating five rural banks in Nepal specializing in microcredit operations and following the Grameen Bank lending methodology. Dr. Pant was the founder-chairman of the first two Grameen Bikas Banks in Nepal: Purbanchal Grameen Bikas Bank and Sudur Paschimanchal Grameen Bikas Bank. After his retirement from the central bank, he created Nirdhan Utthan Bank, which grew rapidly to become one of the largest MFIs in the country.
Larry Reed began the session by introducing the Campaign’s role in pushing for an understanding that achieving full financial inclusion means including those living in extreme poverty.
From the start, the Microcredit Summit Campaign has advocated scaling up microfinance and other financial inclusion interventions. They can provide those living in extreme poverty with the diverse array of financial and non-financial services that will support their journey out of poverty.