Bangladeshi microcredit pioneer Muhammad Yunus and his Grameen Bank were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for their work in advancing economic and social opportunities for the poor, particularly women.
The economist and his bank will share the prize. They were cited for their efforts to help "create economic and social development from below" in their home country by using innovative economic programs such as microcredit lending.
"Every single individual on earth has both the potential and the right to live a decent life. Across cultures and civilizations, Yunus and Grameen Bank have shown that even the poorest of the poor can work to bring about their own development," the Nobel Committee said in its citation.
"I'm absolutely delighted. I cannot believe that it has really happened," Yunus told the Nobel Foundation by telephone. "Everyone was telling me that I would get the prize, but it came as a surprise. It is fantastic news for the people that have supported us."