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80 people have the same wealth as 3.5 billion - Oxfam

Jan 19 2015 07:32

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Paris - Wealth accumulated by the richest 1% will exceed that of the other 99% in 2016, the Oxfam charity said Monday, ahead of the annual meeting of the world's most powerful at Davos, Switzerland.

"The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast," Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said.

Read: The full PDF report

The share of global wealth of the richest 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, the British charity said in a report, adding that it will be more that 50% in 2016.

The average wealth per adult in this group is $2.7m, Oxfam said.

Of the remaining 52%, almost all - 46% - is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world's population, leaving the other 80% to share just 5.5% with an average wealth of $3 851 per adult, the report says.

Byanyima, who is to co-chair at the Davos World Economic Forum taking place Wednesday through Friday, urged leaders to take on "vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world."

Call to tackle tax evasion

Oxfam called upon states to tackle tax evasion, improve public services, tax capital rather than labour, and introduce living minimum wages, among other measures, in a bid to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth.

Share of global wealth of the top 1% and bottom 99% respectively; Credit Suisse data available 2000–2014:

The 45th World Economic Forum that runs from Wednesday to Saturday will draw a record number of participants this year with more than 300 heads of state and government attending.

Rising inequality will be competing with other global crises including terrorist threats in Europe, the worst post-Cold War stand-off between Russia and the West and renewed fears of financial turmoil.

France's Francois Hollande, Germany's Angela Merkel and China's Li Keqiang will be among world leaders seeking to chart a path away from fundamentalism towards solidarity.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and US Secretary of State John Kerry are also expected.

Beyond geopolitical crises, hot-button issues like the Ebola epidemic, the challenges posed by plunging oil prices and the future of technology will also be addressed at the posh Swiss ski resort.

Share of global wealth of the top 1% and bottom 99% respectively; the dashed lines project the 2010–2014 trend. By 2016, the top 1% will have more than 50% of total global wealth:

Wealth of the 80 richest people in the world has doubled in nominal terms between 2009 and 2014, while the wealth of the bottom 50% is lower in 2014 than it was in 2009:

Number of billionaires it takes to have accumulated the same amount of wealth as the bottom 50% of the global population:

(Graphs: Oxfam report).

oxfam  |  wef  |  wealth  |  poverty  |  davos  |  inequality


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