SYDNEY (AFP) – The world’s biggest economies must tackle rising inequality, aid agency Oxfam warned Tuesday, saying ignoring the issue would leave millions trapped in poverty and risk economic growth.
In a report ahead of the G20 summit in Brisbane, Oxfam said the wealth of G20 nations had risen by $17 trillion since December but the richest one per cent of people took more than one-third of this with $6.2 trillion.
“The widening gap between rich and poor is increasing… so inequality is becoming more pronounced,” Oxfam Australia chief Helen Szoke told AFP.
“Inequality in and of itself is problematic for those people who are left behind but we also know that you can’t actually achieve growth unless you address this issue of inequality.”
Oxfam is calling for the issue to be acknowledged as a serious global problem at the G20 leaders summit on Saturday and Sunday, which brings together the heads of the world’s 20 biggest economies.
Led by Australia, G20 nations have pledged to raise the level of their combined output by at least two per cent above the currently projected level in the next five years, in hopes of creating millions of jobs and prodding stalling economies.