From drought and bushfires to COVID-19, Australia is facing economic uncertainty like never before, but global microfinance leader Grameen is providing hope for the future.

The organisation has committed to boosting employment through supporting people on low incomes to set up their own small businesses in Australia’s post-COVID future.

Over 800,000 jobs have been lost nationwide since March and reports are showing women have been more adversely affected than men.

Grameen’s revolutionary model empowers the poor, particularly women, to take charge of their own futures and reach their full potential. As it prepares to launch in Australia, the organisation has appointed renowned microfinance leader Adam Mooney to the role of CEO.

“Developed by Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus, Grameen has been transformative for over 300 million people around the world, who otherwise would have lived in poverty and been dependent on others. Now is the time to bring this model to Australia,” says Grameen Australia Chair Ian Neil SC.

“Our country is facing the highest unemployment rates in decades with hundreds of thousands financially excluded. This not only creates a reliance on charity and welfare but often pushes people to seek out loans through fringe lenders at exorbitant rates, resulting in an unending debt cycle. Grameen’s unique approach to developing social businesses with local group support and appropriate lending and savings, provides a sustainable solution.”

“We are delighted to announce that Adam Mooney will be stepping into the role of our new CEO. Adam’s experience, energy and purpose make him well positioned to lead the organisation as it makes a profound contribution to Australia’s social and economic development,” adds Ian Neil.

Adam Mooney has extensive leadership and governance experience in community-led economic development and inclusive finance in Australia, Cambodia, the United Kingdom, PNG and other countries.  He was the inaugural CEO of Australia’s largest microfinance organisation, Good Shepherd Microfinance between 2012 and 2018, reaching over a million people on low incomes and driving large scale economic mobility, with women representing 70 per cent of clients.

“Since I first became involved in microfinance in 2003 in Cambodia, Grameen and Professor Muhammad Yunus have been an inspiration. To now be appointed CEO of Grameen Australia and have the opportunity to enable greater hope and belonging through economic mobility, is indeed an honour. We know that where hope is present people become actors in their own future.

Right now, there are millions of entrepreneurs not fully served by mainstream financial institutions. A large number of these are women on low incomes, including from Aboriginal and migrant communities, who are keen to start or grow a business.  I look forward to working closely with the Grameen team and other like minded people and organisations to foster more hope, connectedness and meaningful work in communities across Australia,” says Adam Mooney.

Grameen Founder and 2006 Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunus, is confident of the impact Grameen can have in Australia.

“Coronavirus has put the economic machine to sleep.  We can all now shape the kind of world we want to go to, rather than going back to the old world.  We can create a world of sharing and caring, with opportunities for all.  Following several visits to Australia, I see there is a big gap in providing financial services for low income people. Corona crisis has made it more visible than before.  Grameen’s microcredit program can help address this need.

Grameen’s program is successfully working in the United States over the last eleven years, impacting over 130,000 low income women in 15 cities.  This experience would be a great help in running a Grameen program in Australia. 

I welcome Ian Neil SC as the Chair of the Board and Adam Mooney as CEO of Grameen Australia.  I wish Grameen Australia great success.” says Professor Muhammad Yunus, Nobel Peace Laureate 2006.

Adam commences with Grameen Australia in July and will be based in Melbourne.

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