Rising Inequality in the Global South: Practice and Solutions

Dr. Donald Kaberuka and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild among speakers at Oxfam-University of Oxford Symposium

Inequality is spiralling out of control, but consensus on taking action against this issue of our time is gathering pace. From Graça Machel to Christine Lagarde, Barack Obama to Pope Francis, there is clear agreement that extreme inequality is damaging societies, governance and economic growth.

Public debate about inequality is now prominent in spaces dominated the IMF, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. But these voices have too often only focused on the extreme wealth found in the global North, while the causes and characterization of inequality in the global South are overlooked.

Following on from the success of last year’s symposium about Africa’s extractives industry and illicit financial flows, Oxfam and the University of Oxford are coming together again to examine the causes and consequences of uneven economic growth and rising inequality in the global South, while assessing policy solutions and charting a way forward for equity, democracy and social stability.

Taking part in the World Economic Forum in Davos later this month, Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, sees this symposium as a scene setter, which she is co-hosting with Dr. Nic Cheeseman, Associate Professor in African Politics, University of Oxford.

Ms. Byanyima said, “Inequality is a defining issue of our time across the world, and the extremes of it are felt most in the global South. It is a very real obstacle to prosperity as millions of people are unable to access health services and education, impacting their quality of life and life expectancy. The time to act is clearly upon us and this Symposium will explore the options we have to right the wrongs of inequality, and its root causes.”

Dr. Cheeseman commented, "Rising inequality between and within nations is one of the most pressing challenges of our time. High inequality has had significant negative political and social consequences: for example, it makes it harder for people to participate and innovate in the economy, restricting productivity and growth. In poor and divided societies, it contributes to civil conflict. There is an urgent need to learn from recent experiences of rising inequality and its effects in Africa and elsewhere in the global South. To do this, we are bringing together leading experts - academics, policy experts, political leaders and campaigners - to work out how to tackle inequality and how to prevent it’s most negative consequences.”

Those speaking at the “Inequality in the global South – evidence and experience” session, as moderated by Dr. Nic Cheeseman, are H.E. Dr. Kerfalla Yansané, Minister of Mines and Geology of the Republic of Guinea, Prof. Nora Lustig, Professor of Latin American Economics at Tulane University, Prof. C.P. Chandrasekhar, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University, and Prof. Mick Moore, Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies.

The second session, “Policy solutions: resources, taxation, governance & social spending” will be moderated by Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International. The speakers will be Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank, Prof. Juan Alberto Fuentes Knight, Professor at Universidad Rafael Landivar, and Lady Lynn Forester de Rothschild, CEO of E.L. Rothschild. Dr. Jay Naidoo, Chair of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition will deliver the final address.

Notes to editors

The Rising Inequality in the Global South: Practice and Solutions Symposium will take place on Monday, January 19th 2015 at St. Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

The Symposium will be live streamed at this address on Monday January 19th: http://oxf.am/ZwvU

Contact information

To attend the event, please contact:

Rui Ma, Executive Assistant to Advocacy and Campaign Director, Oxfam International ruizhen.ma@oxfaminternational.org / +44 (0)7584-580-819

Dr. Miles Larmer, Associate Professor of African History, University of Oxford miles.larmer@history.ox.ac.uk / +44 (0)1865 613915

For Oxfam media enquiries, please contact:

Dannielle Taaffe, News Manager, Oxfam International, dannielle.taaffe@oxfaminternational.org / +44 (0) 7917-110-066