Focus on growth through trade must not overshadow need to tackle inequality, warns Oxfam

At the close of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund’s Annual Meetings in Washington, Nadia Daar, the head of Oxfam International’s Washington office said:

On Inequality:

“Both Christine Lagarde and Jim Yong Kim spoke out on the challenges posed by globalization and inequality, and the need for inclusive growth and development.

"They now need to champion changes to challenge the status quo and end policies that helped create this massive gulf between the one percent and the poorest.”

On investing in health and education:

“We congratulate the Bank for its commitment to investing in people, especially during maternal and early childhood years.

“However, a report released this week by the Global Campaign for Education shows the Bank is supporting private schools in many developing countries; these schools often offer a poor quality education, exclude girls, and fail to reach the poorest communities.

“We are optimistic that in his second term, Kim will tackle this issue and make eliminating fees in health and education a priority; that’s the best way to guarantee everyone access.”

On tax:

“The Panama Papers broke on the eve of this year’s Spring Meetings in April, which helped drive the IMF and World Bank to make ambitious announcements to reform global corporate tax governance and address the use of tax havens; that urgency was noticeably absent from these Meetings.

“Instead, several high-ranking officials repeatedly stressed the need to boost growth through international trade. We’re concerned that without stronger global tax rules in place, this could exacerbate harmful competition to cut corporate taxes.

“The IMF and the World Bank have a responsibility and an opportunity to follow through on earlier commitments and to help countries coordinate their tax policies and put an end to tax havens. We cannot wait for another scandal to leak to see more action.”

On the World Bank’s private sector lending:

"Oxfam's report released this week shows that the International Finance Corporation has a long way to go to make its investments in the private sector much more transparent and accountable.

“We heard much talk about the need to tap the private sector for development. With this new emphasis, it’s more critical than ever for the IFC to clean up shop and promote standards that protect poor communities rather than hurt them.”

 

Contact information: 

Simon Hernandez-Arthur in Washington, D.C.

simon.hernandezarthur@oxfaminternational.org

+1 585 503 4568

@SimonHernandez

 

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