Maria Nowak

Maria Nowak , born in 1935 , is an economist , microcredit specialist , president and founder of the Association for the right to economic initiative .


Maria Nowak was born in Poland in 1935 . In 1943 , she fled her country occupied by the Nazi army, which burned her house, shot or deported her family. She moved to France in 1946 with part of her family 1 .


A graduate of the Paris Institute of Political Studies ( 1956 ) and the London School of Economics ( 1959 ), she completed a study trip to Guinea and defended a thesis on the rural economy.

She joins the Caisse Centrale de Coopération Economique, which will become the French Development Agency , where she specializes in Africa . She becomes Director of Policy and Studies.

Introducing microcredit in France

In 1985 Maria Nowak met a Bangladeshi economist, Prof. Yunus , founder of the Grameen Bank and future Nobel Peace Prize winner ( 2006 ). She decided to transpose this model of microcredit in France to “give the excluded a chance” 2 . In 1989 , she founded, with the moral support of Muhammad Yunus, the Association for the right to economic initiative (Adie) of which she became president 3 .

In 1991 , she was seconded to the World Bank in Washington to participate in the development of microcredit programs in Central Europe. She is also co-founder of the Microfinance Center for Central and Eastern Europe.

Between 2000 and 2002 , she was special advisor to Laurent Fabius , Socialist Minister for the Economy, Finance and Industry.

In 2003 , she formed the European Microfinance Network (EMN), which she held until 2008 .

In March 2011, she leaves the presidency of Adie, whose office elects Catherine Barbaroux to succeed him. She retains the title of President-Founder, and continues to serve on the Board of Directors.

She is also a member of the sponsorship committee of the Collège des Bernardins  [ archive ] .


  • Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor 4 .
  • She is also Commander of the National Order of Merit (2011) 5 .

See also


  • Maria Nowak: The Banker of Hope. The one that lends to the excluded , Albin Michel, 1994
  • Maria Nowak: We only lend to the rich. The microcredit revolution , Jean-Claude Lattès, 2005
  • Anne Hirsch and Maria Nowak: The Place of the Invisibles , Jean-Claude Lattès, 2004
  • Maria Nowak: The microcredit or the bet of the man , Street of the chessboard , 2009
  • Maria Nowak: The economic hope. Microfinance and social entrepreneurship, ferments of a new world , Jean-Claude Lattès, 2010


  1. ↑ Maria Nowak: The Banker hope. The one that lends to the excluded , Albin Michel, 1994
  2. ↑ Anne Hirsch and Maria Nowak, Square invisible , Jean-Claude Lattes, 2004.
  3. ↑ Maria Nowak, is not ready (not) to the rich. The microcredit revolution , Jean-Claude Lattès, 2005.
  4. ↑ ” Decree of »  [ Archive ] , on .
  5. ↑ Decree of 13 May 2011 on promotion and elevation  [ archive ]

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