• Switzerland's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Davos World Economic Forum
Oxfam challenges Davos meet on rising inequality
WEF founder Klaus Schwab. Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP

Oxfam challenges Davos meet on rising inequality

AFP · 18 Jan 2016, 10:22

Published: 18 Jan 2016 10:22 GMT+01:00

 "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 in its reported published ahead of the annual gathering of the world’s financial and political elites.

The report, entitled "An Economy for the one percent", states that women are disproportionately affected by the global inequality.

"One of the other key trends behind rising inequality set out in Oxfam International's report is the falling share of national income going to workers in almost all developed and most developing countries," the report says.

"The majority of low paid workers around the world are women."

Although world leaders have increasingly talked about the need to tackle inequality "the gap between the richest and the rest has widened dramatically in the past 12 months," Oxfam said.

Oxfam's prediction, made ahead of last year's Davos meeting, that the richest one percent would soon own more than the rest of us, "actually came true in 2015," it added.

While the number of people living in extreme poverty halved between 1990 and 2010, the average annual income of the poorest ten percent has risen by less than $3-a-year in the past quarter of a century, a increase in individuals' income of less than one cent a year, the report said.

'Few dozen super-rich people' 

More than 40 heads of state and government will attend the Davos forum in the canton of Graubünden that begins late Tuesday and will end on January 23rd.

Those heading to the Swiss resort town for the high-level annual gathering also include 2,500 "leaders from business and society", the WEF said in an earlier statement.

Describing the theme — the Fourth Industrial Revolution — WEF founder Klaus Schwab said it "refers to the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems".

Oxfam International Executive Director Winnie Byanima, who will also attend Davos having co-chaired last year's event, said: "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."

World leaders' concerns about the escalating inequality crisis have "so far not translated into concrete action — the world has become a much more unequal place and the trend is accelerating," she warned.

End tax-havens era 

As a priority, Oxfam is calling for an end to the era of tax havens which has seen the increasing use of offshore centres to avoid paying taxes.

"This has denied governments valuable resources needed to tackle poverty and inequality," the report said.

As much as 30 percent of all African financial wealth is estimated to be held offshore, it added, costing an estimated $14 billion in lost tax revenues every year.

Story continues below…

Getting hold of the proper level of taxes will be "vital" if world leaders are to meet their goal, set last September, of eliminating extreme poverty by 2030.

Byanima challenged those attending the Davos meeting "to play their part in ending the era of tax havens, which is fuelling economic inequality and preventing hundreds of millions of people lifting themselves out of poverty".

Of the 62 people said to hold as much wealth as the poorest 50 percent, Oxfam said that 53 are men and just nine are female, highlighting that women are ill-represented even at the highest levels.

The headline Davos guests include British Prime Minister David Cameron, US Vice President Joe Biden, French Prime Minister Manuel Valls and newly-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

President Mauricio Marci of Argentina, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Alexis Tsipars, the Greek prime minister, are also due to attend.

Oxfam said it had calculated the wealth of the richest 62 people using Forbes' billionaires list.

For more news from Switzerland, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
10 unspoken rules for fitting in with the Swiss
Photo: Stephan Schacher/Swiss Tourism

New to Switzerland? The Local shows you how to navigate your way through the Swiss social minefield.

Swisscom fined millions for dominating sports TV
Photo: Swisscom

Switzerland's main telecomms group has been fined 71.8 million Swiss francs by the Swiss competition authorities.

Swiss injured by neo- Nazi gunman in Austria
The shooting happened in the Vorarlberg region of Austria. Photo: Roland Vlach/AFP

A 49-year-old Swiss woman was among those injured by a neo-Nazi gunman at a rock concert in Austria.

Huge blaze burns down Swiss candle factory
Photo: Schwyz cantonal police

A candle factory in Einsiedeln became a victim of its own creations on Monday afternoon when a major fire broke out.

Farms in Swiss Jura to pilot refugee integration project
Volunteers will undertake manual labour on farms in the Jura. Photo: Mark Goebel

The pilot programme will offer refugees unpaid farming work to help them integrate.

WHO slams 'policy failures' for Zika crisis
File photo: AFP

The Geneva-based World Health Organization blames a lack of mosquito control in 1970s for the current Zika outbreak.

Singapore boots out scandal-hit Swiss bank
File photo: The Local

Singapore's central bank is kicking out Swiss bank BSI due to its links to a global money-laundering scandal.

French Open tennis
Stan the man survives first round scare
Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Stan Wawrinka battles through five sets in his Roland Garros first round match.

Snow puts end to hottest weekend of year so far
Photo: Gstaad Tourism

Switzerland experienced a return to winter on Monday as snow fell in some places, a stark contrast to the weekend's warm weather.

Swiss aerial accidents leave three dead
File photo: Priyandarshi Ranjan

It was a deadly weekend in the skies over Switzerland.

File photo: Abhishek Jacob
Lifestyle
Swiss court vetoes wedding of couple with 50-year age gap
Sponsored Article
Eat, learn, live: unforgettable holidays in France
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
Culture
Dog day afternoon: Swiss saint meets Pope in Rome
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Business & Money
Pink diamond sold for record-breaking $31m in Geneva
Sponsored Article
Becoming an expat: where to start
File photo: Candida Performa
Lifestyle
Revealed: living in Switzerland could prolong your life
Photo: Cervo
Travel
In pictures: Switzerland’s most welcoming hotels
Photo: Aargau cantonal government
‘Beast of Rupperswil’ was local football coach
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Features
Geneva exhibition marks 200 years of Frankenstein
Photo AFP
National
Swiss basic income campaign sets Guinness world record
Photo: St Gallen police
Society
Police hunt killer of man shot dead in St Gallen street
File photo: Martin Abegglen
Society
Presumed jihadist could have Swiss nationality quashed
Photo: Zurich Zoo
Culture
Gallery: giant tortoise at Zurich Zoo is mother at 80
Photo: Caroline Bishop
Society
Swiss farmer loses appeal in row over noisy cow bells
Photo: Esparta Palmer
Health
44-year-old woman refused fertility treatment on insurance
File photo: Thomas Coex/AFP
Society
Jilted admirer shocks woman with tattoo... of her face
File photo: Flickr
Health
Swiss school eyes longer holidays for non-smoking staff
Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
National
Swiss basic income vote: what you need to know
 Photo: Heinrich Plum
National
Lidl uses German mountain to promote its Swiss products
Photo: Illiz Architektur
This old Swiss army bunker is now an incredible new pool
Photo: Stephan Engler
National
Survey reveals some Swiss ‘never’ cross linguistic divide
Society
Swiss parliament snubs plan for two weeks paternity leave
File photo: Giovanni Blank
Lifestyle
Fathers should share parental leave, says commission
Photo: eGuide Travel
Society
Dictator-tracker spices up Geneva planespotting
File photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP
Politics
Swiss army ready to act in worst case migrant scenario
4,627
jobs available