Just 42 billionaires are as rich as the poorest 3.7 billion people
Oxfam has demonstrated that just 42 people hold as much wealth as poorest half of the world’s population – that’s 3.7 billion people.
Global inequality is becoming a widening chasm as 82% of the global wealth created in 2017 went to the richest 1%.
A global poverty crisis
This is happening at a time when 815 million people go to bed every night hungry. That’s 1 in every 9 people on earth. While chronic malnutrition affects even more people: as many as 33%.
What causes of poverty?
There are many reasons why some countries are struggling to improve the living conditions of their citizens: political corruption, exposure to climate change, natural disaster and unbalanced trade arrangements with richer developed countries are just some of the reasons.
Historical reasons, that we here in Ireland can also understand, mean that many countries missed out on the first two waves of development in the past. The long term effects of colonialism also mean that countries throughout the world are finding it very difficult to compete economically with more developed countries, many of whom benefited from their own colonial past.
Many countries also suffer from conflicts both internal and regional – some of these are in effect proxy conflicts waged by larger powers in smaller countries – inevitably the civilian population suffer, infrastructure is destroyed and development set back years. Yemen, Syria are just to examples of countries where development has been set back generations through war.
Many of the world’s citizens feel they have any chance of having the same opportunities as citizens in developed countries. Oxfam’s report shows the rate of inequality is increasing.
What can be done about it?
Inequality can be reduced by increased access to education, in particular for girls and women. Improved access to work and the provision of sustainable food production also assist in providing social stability. Access to clean water and sanitation reduces the risk of diseases which not only effect the sufferers but also damage the social and economic prospects of the families who have to care for them.
Human Appeal works hard with people in developing countries to help them tackle the causes of social and economic inequality.
Sponsoring the education of children and young adults, supporting new self-starter business, giving farmers the tools and skills they need to increase the productivity of their land sustainably. Our Water and Hygiene (WASH) programs provide clean water and sanitation, reducing the risk of disease, but also making access to water easier – saving hours of unproductive labour expended in collecting water (usually by women and girls)
We also promote the Sustainable Development Goals in Ireland in our education programmes in schools, building an understanding of what the root causes of inequality are, and how they can best be overcome.
What Can You Do To Help?