New footprint for Bangladesh’s Grameen: Adidas shoes


Dhaka : Bangladesh’s Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus is to step into Adidas shoes…literally. His Grameen Group, which is mainly into rural credit, is planning a joint venture with the German sports apparel maker to make low-cost shoes for the poor.

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If the deal gets through, it will be a major footprint in Yunus’ social business, The Daily Star said Sunday.

The two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding and are working together on how to bring the products into market tentatively by the year-end, said officials of Yunus Centre, the hub of his social business activities.

At a meeting at Yunus Centre last week, Yunus said: “The shoes will be cheap and affordable for the poor. It will protect people from diseases.”

Nadina Terrera, assistant programme officer of Yunus Centre, told the newspaper: “We are working on the price issue. It will be quite affordable for the poor.”

Yunus had unveiled his programme during his visit to India.

In a lecture last December in the Indian parliament, Yunus had said: “The goal of the Grameen-Adidas company is to make sure that no one, child or adult, goes without shoes.”

“This is a health intervention to make sure that people in the rural areas, particularly children, do not have to suffer from parasitic diseases that can be transmitted through walking barefoot,” Yunus said.

Dairy giant Groupe Danone and water company Veolia – both from France – have already launched separate joint social business ventures with Grameen to serve the poor with nutrition and safe drinking water.

Germany’s BASF SE and Intel have also entered joint venture social businesses with Grameen to produce chemically-treated mosquito nets and provide information and communication technology for the poor.

Grameen has also tied up with Germany’s top chain store Otto to set up a garment factory.