Swaziland, Nigeria ‘are world’s most unequal countries’ – report

Swaziland, closely followed by Nigeria and South Africa, are the world’s most unequal countries because decades of economic growth have only benefited a small elite, a report released by the British aid group Oxfam at the World Economic Forum Africa says.

A woman with her malnourished children sit at a feeding centre run by Doctors Without Borders in Maiduguri (Source: AP Photo)

In Swaziland, three billionaires own the same amount of wealth as the poorest half of the population — around 28 million people.

The aid group Oxfam says that Africa has higher levels of poverty than previously thought.

The report, which says that inequality stifles growth in Africa, was released at the World Economic Forum Africa which started in South Africa’s coastal city of Durban on Wednesday.

The report says Africa has seven of the 20 most unequal countries in the world and a further 250 to 350 million people could be living in extreme poverty within the next 15 years.

“Decades of record GDP growth have benefited a wealthy elite but left millions of ordinary Africans behind. As a consequence, poverty has declined more slowly in Africa than any other region, and pessimistic growth forecasts predict that a further 250 to 350 million people could be living in extreme poverty within the next 15 years,” says the report.

“Inequality in Africa is fuelling poverty, fracturing our societies, and stifling the potential of millions of people,” says Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam and co-chair of WEF Africa 2017.

“It will become a major drag on economic growth. Africa should stop imitating the failing policies of Europe and America and develop a new economic model that works for all Africans – not just the fortunate few.”

“African leaders must not kid themselves. If the wellbeing of people and the protection of the environment are our primary aims, rather than a hoped-for by-product of free markets, we need to explicitly design economies to achieve these things,” says Byanyima.

Culled from AP

Source: African Spotlight

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