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#WealthGap: Richest 1% will own half of global wealth by 2016 – Oxfam

The Wealth accumulated by the richest one per cent of the global population will exceed that of the other 99 per cent in 2016, Oxfam said on Monday, ahead of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.

“The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast,” Oxfam executive director Winnie Byanyima said.

The richest one per cent’s share of global wealth increased from 44 percent in 2009 to 48 percent in 2014, the British charity said in a report, adding that it will be more that 50 per cent in 2016.

The average wealth per adult in this group is $2.7 million, Oxfam said.

Of the remaining 52 per cent, almost all — 46 per cent — is owned by the rest of the richest fifth of the world’s population, leaving the other 80 per cent to share just 5.5 per cent with an average wealth of $3,851 per adult, the report says.

Byanyima is the co-chair at WEF, a gathering of the world’s most powerful politicians, business tycoons and activists. 

She called on leaders to take on “vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world”.

In its report, Oxfam called on governments to tackle tax evasion, improve public services, tax capital rather than labour, and introduce living minimum wages, among other measures, in a bid to ensure a more equitable distribution of wealth.

The 45th World Economic Forum that runs from Wednesday to Saturday will draw a record number of participants this year with more than 300 heads of state and government attending.

Rising inequality will be competing with other global crises including terrorist threats in Europe, the worst post-Cold War stand-off between Russia and the West and renewed fears of financial turmoil.

France’s Francois Hollande, Germany’s Angela Merkel and China’s Li Keqiang will be among world leaders seeking to chart a path away from fundamentalism towards solidarity.

Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi and US Secretary of State John Kerry are also expected.

Beyond geopolitical crises, hot-button issues like the Ebola epidemic, the challenges posed by plunging oil prices and the future of technology will also be addressed at the posh Swiss ski resort.



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