A recently released Oxfam report has revealed that the continent's three richest billionaires have more wealth than the poorest 40% - or 650 million people across the continent.
The three richest people on the continent according to Forbes 2019 billionaires list are Aliko Dangote ($14.1 billion), Nicky Oppenheimer ($7.7 billion) and Johann Rupert ($7 billion dollars).
The report, called “A Tale of Two Continents”, was launched at African political and business leaders gathered last week for the World Economic Forum Africa meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. It shows how rising and extreme inequality across Africa is undermining efforts to fight poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
Furthermore, it explained that the continent was rapidly becoming the epicenter of global extreme poverty. It adds that a massive reduction in the number of those living on less than $1.90 a day has been achieved in Asia, while in Africa the number is rising.
“The World Bank estimates that 87 per cent of the world’s extreme poor will be in Africa by 2030, if current trends continue. African women and girls are most likely to be poor. Levels of gender inequality are among the highest in the world, combining with economic inequality to create a suffocating web of exclusion."
According to the report, while the richest Africans fortunes are increasing, extreme poverty is also on the rise on the continent. The report further provides an analysis of how unsustainable levels of debt and a rigged international tax system are depriving African governments of billions of dollars in lost revenue each year. It asserts that this is the money that could have been invested in education, healthcare, and social protection.
The African Exponent recently ran a report on how tax havens such as Mauritius have created a legitimate way for corporations to manipulate tax laws.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
"Africa is ready to rise - but only once it’s leaders have the courage to back a more human economy that works for the many and not a few super-rich men. They can achieve this by investing in inequality-busting, universal and quality public services like health and education and by developing truly progressive tax systems."
The most unequal country in the region, Swaziland, is home to one billionaire, Nathan Kirsh, who is estimated to have $4.9bn. If he worked in one of the restaurants that his wholesale company supplies on a worker’s minimum wage, it would take him 5.7 million years to earn his current level of wealth.
The report also revealed that 75% of the wealth of African multi-millionaires and billionaires is held offshore, resulting in a $14billion annual loss in uncollected tax revenue.
Header Image Credits: CEOWorld Magazine