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Revenue lost to Africa from use of tax havens could save lives of 4m children and educate every child in Africa
Kigali, Rwanda — Oxfam International Executive Director, Winnie Byanyima, will use the WEF Africa meeting in Kigali, Rwanda this week to call for a radical overhaul in the way African countries manage the income from natural resources, an end to tax havens and the use of progressive taxation to fight inequality.
These resources should be used to fund strategic investments in education, healthcare and small-scale agriculture to provide a human economy that benefits the majority of Africans people. She will also use the event to launch a briefing paper, “The Time is Now: Building a Human Economy for Africa”, which reveals the level of misallocation of resources on the continent and the growing gap between rich and poor. Among other findings, the report reveals:
- The richest 10 people in Africa now have a combined wealth equivalent to the GDP of Kenya.
- The number of people living in poverty in Africa has increased by 50 million since 1990.
- Seven of the world’s most unequal countries are in Africa.
- Revenue lost to African governments from the use of tax havens by rich individuals would be enough to pay for healthcare to save the lives of four million children, and employ enough teachers to get every African child into school.
"With growth slowing in Africa it is more urgent than ever to tackle inequality,” says Winnie Byanyima. “Ordinary Africans are currently unable to see enough of the benefits of economic growth, which instead of reducing poverty and delivering shared prosperity, is benefiting an exclusive class of elites with more money and power than ever before.”
"I challenge the African leaders from governments and businesses this week to truly focus on economic inequality and place young people—especially our most squandered talent, our girls—front and center of public policy discussion,” she adds. “This requires redoubled efforts to invest in what works for these people: public healthcare and education and investment in agriculture.”
Notes to editors
Download the briefing paper: The Time is Now: Building a Human Economy for Africa