What is World Economic Forum 2016?

Over 2,500 leaders from business, government, international organizations, civil society, academia, media and the arts will participate in the 46th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, on 20-23 January. The theme of the Meeting is “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution”.

This is an important opportunity to take the voices of the world’s poorest people to Davos – to bring their perspectives to a global discussion with some of the world’s most powerful leaders. 

For example, did you know that 1% now own more than the rest of us combined? In other words: Today, just 62 billionaires own the same wealth as the poorest half of the population. 

Every year, the gap between rich and poor gets even wider – and it’s being fuelled by the use of tax havens. As much as $7.6 trillion of personal wealth is being hidden in offshore accounts, and it has a devastating impact on poorer countries. 

How the other half live

Barbara is a widow. She spends hours every day walking to collect water for her crops, so she can feed her two children. And when her husband was alive, she had to sell livestock to pay for his care. She never had the chance to go to school. If she had, she would have liked to be a nurse or a teacher. Barbara told us she felt like “a lost person”. 

But Barbara knows that things could be different. If everyone paid their fair share of tax, we could have a chance to meet the basic needs of people living in poverty, give them control over their own lives and the opportunity to change their futures. 

We need a powerful and practical response

Oxfam's Executive Director Winnie Byanyima is in Davos calling on leaders to show they are on the side of the majority, and to bring a halt to the inequality crisis.  From living wages to better regulation of the activities of the financial sector, there is plenty that policy makers can do to end the economy for the 1% and start building a human economy that benefits everyone.  As a priority, world leaders need to come together to tackle tax havens.

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