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New estimates show that just eight men own the same wealth as the poorest half of the world. As growth benefits the richest, the rest of society – especially the poorest – suffers. Our economy must stop excessively rewarding those at the top and start working for all people.
Dangerous, poorly paid work for the many is supporting extreme wealth for the few. Women are in the worst work, and almost all the super-rich are men. Governments must create a more equal society by prioritizing ordinary workers and small-scale food producers instead of the rich and powerful.
Since the turn of the century, the poorest half of the world’s population has received just 1% of the total increase in global wealth. Meanwhile, half the new wealth has gone to the richest 1%. To help reverse this trend, we need rapid growth of equitable business structures with purpose, fairness and sustainability embedded into their model.
High levels of inequality across Africa have prevented much of the benefits of recent growth from reaching the continent’s poorest people. To combat inequality in Africa, political and business leaders have to shape a profoundly different type of economy.
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.