The leader for the Movement for Justice in Africa or MOJA, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh warns that while there is global concern about the Corona Pandemic, a perennial and pervasive Poverty Pandemic rages on with more pandemics to be forthcoming, if not attended to adequately.
In an article titled “The Poverty Pandemic”, Dr. Tipoteh explains that the UNDP Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) for 2019 shows that 15 percent of the world’s population lives in poverty while there is global concern about the Corona Pandemic in which there are seven (7) million cases, representing 10 percent of the world’s population, and 400 thousand deaths.
He notes that UNICEF reports that 22,000 children die daily due to poverty while the World Health Organization indicates that hunger is the number one killer of people in the world.
The veteran Liberian economist and politician laments further that 80 million people across the world have no adequate food to eat, and that additional facts on the Poverty Pandemic exhibit a dismal realty.
He points that as 50 percent of the world’s population lives on less than USD2.50 daily, more than 75 million of the world’s population have no access to safe drinking water, while 25 percent of the world’s population lives without electricity.
Dr. Tipoteh quotes OXFAM as observing that it would take USD60 billion of 25 percent of the income of the world’s top 100 billionaires, to end extreme poverty globally, noting that all of the foregoing aspects of the Poverty Pandemic are taking place while the USA is mobilizing USD7trillion stimulus package for the Corona Pandemic in the USA, not forgetting Euro2 trillion stimulus package that the European Union is mobilizing to attend to the Corona Pandemic.
“It comes as no surprise that the rich are mobilizing such enormous amounts of money as stimulus packages under the Corona Pandemic. Let us recall the USD800 billion bailout package that the Bush regime mobilized under the consequences of the Great Recession of 2008 and this was followed subsequently by the Obama regime with its bailout package of USD800 billion”, he added.
But Dr. Tipoteh, who also chairs the Servants of Africa Fighting Epidemics of SAFE, argues that the stimulus packages, ostensibly mobilized to help the poor, are highly likely to be used in the interest of the rich just as the bailout packages were utilized, saying, in a single case the CEO of Goldman Sachs received a Great recession bonus of USD21 million for “a job well done”.
He says in the situation of the Corona Pandemic, the bulk of the money in the stimulus package in the USA has been allocated for use by the big companies in the industrial military complex, while acknowledging funding of the production of the anti-corona vaccine whose lead supporter is Bill Gates, the world’s second richest person.
On the question of global lockdowns, he says most people are locked down in their respective places of living, where the working people depend mainly on the use of digital devices to make a living, and the world’s top five richest persons dominate the digital industry and gain enormously from the lockdowns.
“The rich depend on the poor to get rich and richer, explaining the income gap between the rich and the poor within countries and among the developed and developing countries.”
According to Dr. Tipoteh, in 1820, from an income and wealth perspective, the ratio of the top 20 percent of the world’s population to the world’s bottom 20 percent of population was 3:1; and that by 1991, this ration became 86:1, indicating enormous income and wealth inequality locally and globally.
“The poor, such as the 22,000 children who die daily and the 80 million people who do not have access to food to eat daily in the world, become sick and die from these dismal conditions much more than the rich who benefit enormously from the production of antivirus vaccines produced and distributed by the rich. For example, African-Americans comprise 15 percent of the USA population, but 25 percent of the deaths in the USA from the Corona Pandemic are these Africa-Americans. Many vaccines are used repeatedly to create illnesses that require the production of additional vaccines by rich manufacturers.”
However, he is optimistic that, with the spreading of relevant knowledge about the dynamics of pandemics, especially the Poverty Pandemic, doable ways will be found to end pandemics globally to allow humankind live in a better world will improved equality on all fronts.