A new study by Oxfam International reveals that the world’s 2,153 billionaires collectively are wealthier than the 4.6 billion people who make up 60 percent of the planet’s population.
The report was released on Monday, 20 January, ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, says a press release by Oxfam.
“Global inequality is shockingly entrenched and vast and the number of billionaires has doubled in the last decade”, reads the release.
Oxfam Regional Director for West Africa Adama Coulibaly, calls on West African governments to strengthen commitment against inequality by promoting progressive taxation, boosting social spending, strengthening labour market protection, investing in agriculture and strengthening land right for smallholder food crop farmers.
“We cannot beat poverty and climate change without fighting against inequality”, says Mr. Coulibaly.
Last year, Oxfam West Africa revealed at a regional report launch titled Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index that inequality is at crisis levels in West Africa, yet governments in the region are the least committed to reducing inequality on the continent.
The regional index further revealed that West African governments are exacerbating inequality by underfunding public services, including healthcare, education and agriculture while under-taxing corporations and the wealthy, and failing to clamp down on tax evasion, tax avoidance and corruption.
It says West Africa is also one of the most affected in the world by Climate Change impact which is an inequality amplifier.
Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar, currently in Davos to represent the Oxfam confederation, says, “The gap between rich and poor can’t be resolved without deliberate inequality-busting policies, yet too few governments are committed to these.”
According to the release, this year’s report focuses on unpaid care and underpaid care work and how this is fuelling global inequality.
Oxfam’s global report, “Time to Care”, shows that the huge economic gap between the rich and the poor is based on a flawed and sexiest economic system that values the wealth of the privileged few, mostly men, more than the billions of hours of the essential work such as caring done mostly by women and girls around the world.
It says heavy and unequal responsibility of care work perpetuates and exacerbates gender and economic inequalities, noting that the 22 richest men in the world have more wealth than all the women in Africa.
Africa still one of the most unequal continents, with some of the most extreme divides between rich and poor in the world.
Oxfam defends that its calculations are based on the most up-to-date and comprehensive data sources available, and that figures on the share of wealth come from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2019. “Figures on the very richest in society come from Fobes’ 2019 Billionaires List. Billionaire wealth fell in the last year but has since recovered.”
Oxfam is part of the Fight Inequality Alliance, a global coalition of civil society organizations and activists that are scheduled to hold events from 18-26 January in 30 countries, including India, Kenya, Mexico, Pakistan, South Africa, Uganda and the UK to promote solutions to inequality and demand that economies work for everyone. Press Release