Mr Yunus is the inventor of microcredit, small loans given to the poor, especially women, who have no access to traditional financing.
“All human beings have entrepreneurial instincts, even the very poor,” Mr. Yunus said, urging businesses to focus more on solving problems in their local communities and less on maximizing profits. “Charity will never solve the problem of poverty,” he later added.
In a plenary session, business leaders discussed how globalization affects the migration of people within countries and across borders. Topics discussed included: how developing nations go about training employees and retaining skilled workers; how chambers should deal with employers that hire illegal immigrants; and how developed countries can face the mounting challenge of finding skilled workers.
The day’s events included 13 workshops covering a wide range of subjects from chamber branding to ICC arbitration.
ICC International Court of Arbitration Secretary General Anne-Marie Whitesell told delegates that the dramatic increase in international trade has made ICC Arbitration the preferred method of commercial dispute resolution. She announced that the ICC International Court of Arbitration had recently received its 15 000th case since the court was established in 1923.
During a workshop on public-private partnerships, Dimitri Dimitriadis, President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Brussels said: “Public-private partnerships represent a new paradigm for economic development in the 21st century.”
Moderated by John Sullivan, the Executive Director for the Center for International Private Enterprise, the workshop on advocacy and policy reform looked at how chambers can address the specific economy policy concerns of its membership, which includes a cross-section of small, medium and large enterprises.
In a workshop titled From Chamber Trust to Secure Online Business, Chair of the World Chambers Network Georges Fischer said: “Handling export formalities can be a major source of revenue for chambers.”
In the session, Will Business Organizations Survive in the 21st Century? Rohit Talwar, CEO of Global Futures and Foresight in the UK, advised the audience on how to plan ahead when making business decisions. “Consider if you are creating options for the future and make space for it,” he said.
Reflecting on the day’s events, Hariadi Saptadji, Executive Director of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: “This is the first time I have attended the World Chambers Congress and it is proving very worthwhile. I am already planning to take three more colleagues with me to the next congress in 2009.”