IMF doesn't mention inequality in Lima speech, while World Bank says TPP could be good for growth

In a puzzling move, inequality was not on the agenda at the International Monetary Fund’s Press Briefing in the Peruvian capital today.

Responding to IMF Managing Director, Christine Lagarde’s speech, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington D.C. office, Nicolas Mombrial said:

“It is surprising Christine Lagarde did not cover inequality in her speech in Lima today as she herself is committed to tackling it. The IMF says making the rich richer is bad for growth, and given that we are in the world’s most unequal region where economic growth is likely to be close to zero next year, this is a missed opportunity.

“The richest 1% in Latin America and the Caribbean currently holds 41% of the region’s wealth. If this inequality is not curbed, in just eight years’ time, this figure will jump to 99% and we could see 200 million people falling back into poverty here.

“G20 finance ministers from across the world are in Lima to listen to the IMF, so not addressing inequality is a big let-down, as it is the defining social and economic challenge of our time.”

On the number of people in extreme poverty falling under 10%

In response to World Bank President Jim Kim’s speech in Lima today, in which the global poverty line was covered, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington D.C. office, Nicolas Mombrial said the following:

"The fall in the global number of people living in extreme poverty is good news. This should be a fillip for everyone. However, the fact remains that 702 million people are still living today in extreme poverty. That figure remains unacceptably high. Much remains to be done."

TPP and the World Bank

In response to World Bank President Jim Kim’s speech in Lima, where he said TPP was good for growth, Head of Oxfam International's Washington D.C. office, Nicolas Mombrial said the following:

“Trade can be a vehicle for lifting millions of out poverty and sharing prosperity but only if the rules of trade empower those in poverty, as well as working families. But what’s happening is that the TPP rules are being written in favor of corporate interests when it comes to intellectual property and medicine.”

Climate finance and the World Bank

In response to World Bank President Jim Kim’s speech in Lima, where he mentioned climate finance, Head of Oxfam International's Washington D.C. office, Nicolas Mombrial said the following:

"It’s good Jim Kim was clear and positive about how the annual $100 billion needed for developing countries’ climate change battle can be met. The World Bank needs to be more of a leader now in increasing its own climate adaptation funds. 

"With the Inter-American Development Bank announcing its aim to double climate-related finance by 2020, it’s the World Bank’s turn to step up here in Lima as we approach the pivotal Paris COP."

Tax, the World Bank and the IMF

In response to World Bank President Jim Kim’s and the IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde’s speech regarding tax reform in Lima today, Head of Oxfam International’s Washington D.C. office, Nicolas Mombrial said the following:

“The current package of tax reforms proposed by the OECD BEPS is disappointing. Despite their commitments to helping countries raise more money from taxation, the IMF and the World Bank missed an opportunity to call for a second generation of deeper tax reforms. All countries must have an equal say when it comes to making to global tax system work for the many, not the few.”

Notes to editors: 

The G20 finance ministers will be asked to endorse the first deliverables of the OECD BEPs process on October 8th.

Contact information: 

Simon Hernandez Arthur, in Lima: simon.hernandezarthur@oxfaminternational.org / +15855034568

For updates, please follow @Oxfam.