Oxfam report: Wealth of richest 62 people same as poorest half of world’s population

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(London Post)  According to Oxfam, the world’s richest 62 people now own the same as the poorest half of world’s population. The aid group also found that the majority of low-paid workers around the world are women.

The report, titled “An Economy for the 1 percent,” was released on Monday, on the eve of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, where more than 40 heads of state and government are expected to attend.

Oxfam found that since 2010, the wealth of the richest 62 people – according to the Forbes’ billionaires list – has risen by 44 percent, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion people fell by 41 percent.

The average annual income of the poorest 10 percent has risen by less than $3 (2.75 euros) a year in the past 25 years – an increase in individuals’ income of less than one cent a year, the aid organization said.

“Runaway inequality has created a world where 62 people own as much wealth as the poorest half of the world’s population – a figure that has fallen from 388 just five years ago,” the anti-poverty agency said.

‘Simply unacceptable’

The findings backed Oxfam’s prediction – made ahead of the 2015 Davos meeting – that the richest 1 percent would soon own more than the poorest half of the world’s population.

Kenyan child collects rubbish in a Nairobi slumOxfam found that the wealth of the world’s poorest 3.5 billion people has fallen by 41 percent since 2010.

“It is simply unacceptable that the poorest half of the world’s population owns no more than a few dozen super-rich people who could fit onto one bus,” Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanima said.

Despite efforts by world leaders to tackle inequality, “the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months,” Oxfam reported.

End to the tax havens

In response to the rising inequality between rich and poor, Oxfam is demanding an end to tax havens. “This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality,” the aid organization report said.

According to Oxfam, an estimated 30 percent of all African financial wealth is believed to be held offshore, costing an estimated $14 billion (12.8 billion euros) in lost tax revenues every year.

Oxfam added that attaining the proper level of taxes will be “vital” if world leaders are to meet last September’s goal of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.

The report also found that the majority of low-paid workers around the world are women. Even at the highest levels, Oxfam found the women are ill-represented, with just nine females among the richest 62 people.

ksb/jm (Reuters, AFP)

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