Richest 1% ‘set to own more than the rest by 2016’

Oxfam is calling on the Taoiseach to help drive discussion about tackling global inequality.

The call comes as new figures from the international agency reveal that the richest 1% of the world will own more than all of the rest by 2016.

A research paper suggests the wealthiest 1% have seen their share of global assets rise from 44% in 2009 to 48% last year – with an average worth of $2.7m each. That figure is on track to exceed 50% this year.

Below the richest fifth, 80% of the world’s population own just 5.5% of wealth – an average of $3,851 each.

These figures highlight the growing inequality gap ahead of this week’s World Economic Forum in Davos.

Oxfam, which will co-chair the Davos event, warned that the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against poverty at a time when one in nine people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than €1.07 a day.

Jim Clarken, CEO of Oxfam Ireland, said that this gap is blocking economic development.

“It has been identified as one of the key blockers in terms of economic development, and to sustainability, prosperity for all, and indeed security,” he said.

“So it’s an issue that should concern everyone.

“We’re hoping that at Davos this week, where Oxfam will have a presence, that there will be meaningful discussions about it and hopefully some of the solutions will start to emerge.”

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