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More than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of USD 2.7 million per adult in 2014
A report by OXFAM reveals the alarming rate of inequality between the rich and poor, citing that the combined wealth of the richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent of people in the coming year, if the current trends are not put in check.
The international agency warned that rising inequality must be controlled, starting with a crackdown on tax dodging by corporations. According to the agency’s research, the richest 1 percent has seen their share of global wealth increase from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014. At this rate, it will be more than 50 percent in 2016. Members of this global elite had an average wealth of USD 2.7 million per adult in 2014.
“Do we really want to live in a world where the one percent own more than the rest of us combined? The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite other issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast,” stated Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International.
Byanyima further said that while world leaders are talking about tackling extreme inequality and poverty, they have not been walking the talk.
The report states that a global system of tax avoidance is denying poor countries the resources they need to tackle poverty, educate children, as well as provide better health care.
In Africa, almost a third of Africans’ wealth, totaling USD 500 billion, is held offshore in tax havens. According to estimates, the practice costs African countries around USD 14 billion a year in lost tax revenues; finance that could be used to provide education for every child on the continent.
It is estimated that Africa loses USD 50 billion every year due to illicit financial flows; a figure much larger than what the continent receives in development aid. Other research also shows that foreign direct investment coming into the continent by world giant corporations hasn’t done justice to reducing poverty levels because loopholes in the global tax system enable so called investors to avoid taxation.
OXFAM further underlined its concern with regards to the lobbying power of multinational corporations that act as barriers to reform of the global tax system and of insuring intellectual property rules do not lead to the world’s poorest being denied life saving medicines.