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62 richest people have wealth equal to poorest 3.5 billion – Oxfam

18 January 2016 6:20 PM

The richest 1% own more than the poorest 99% combined, says Oxfam. Mike Wills interviews Oxfam SA’s Ronald Wesso.

(Also read "South Africa’s two richest people have wealth equal to the poorest 26.5-million".)

The wealthiest 62 people now own as much as half the world’s population, some 3.5 billion people, Oxfam said at Davos on Monday.

The international charity says the richest 1% own more than rest of the world combined.

Oxfam says the wealth of the richest 62 people has risen by 44% since 2010, while the wealth of the poorest 3.5 billion fell 41%.

According to the University of California’s Gabriel Zucman, about $7.6 trillion of individuals’ wealth sits in offshore tax havens.

He says that, if tax were paid on the income that this wealth generates, an extra $190 billion would be available to governments every year.

Oxfam says, referring to Zucman's work, that as much as 30% of all African financial wealth is held offshore, costing about $14 billion in lost tax revenues every year.

According to Oxfam this is enough money to save four million children’s lives a year.

Mike Wills interviewed Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa.

Scroll down for quotes from the audio below.

If China is taken out of the picture, the poverty picture would look much worse.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

The process of generating this concentration of wealth is what’s causing poverty.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

Despite capitalist philanthropy, inequality is growing.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

We forecast that by 2020 just eight individuals will own the same wealth of half of humanity.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

Tax havens are allowing this concentration of wealth.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

Even if governments improve the efficiency of how they spend money it won’t make a fundamental difference.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

Our data comes from the World Bank and is available online.

Ronald Wesso, Research and Policy Lead at Oxfam South Africa

18 January 2016 6:20 PM