Soaring Income Inequality in Countries Receiving IMF and World Bank Assistance: Oxfam


A recent analysis by Oxfam International has uncovered alarming levels of income inequality in countries receiving grants or loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank. According to the study, 60 percent of these nations are experiencing high or increasing income inequality.

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The report highlights that out of 106 countries examined, 64 are grappling with either high or rising income inequality. This disparity is measured using the Gini coefficient, where a score above 0.4 indicates significant inequality, as recognized by the United Nations.

Among the countries with high income inequality are Ghana, Honduras, and Mozambique, with 37 countries witnessing a surge in inequality over the past decade, including Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, and Zambia.

Kate Donald, head of Oxfam International’s Washington DC Office, criticized the IMF and World Bank for promoting policies that exacerbate inequality while claiming to prioritize its reduction. She emphasized the detrimental impact of reduced public funding on essential services like healthcare and education, calling for an end to this contradictory approach.

The forthcoming Spring Meetings of the IMF and World Bank in Washington DC will serve as a platform to address these concerns. Oxfam urges donor governments to increase contributions to the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), particularly as needs escalate in low-income countries, many of which are in Africa.

Oxfam also advocates for a global initiative to ensure that the world’s wealthiest individuals pay their fair share of taxes. With ballooning debt hindering development efforts, Oxfam proposes canceling a significant portion of debt owed by overindebted countries, funded by increased taxation on the super-rich.

Highlighting the opportunity presented by the G20 Finance Ministers’ meeting during the Spring Meetings, Oxfam calls for concerted action to tackle inequality and climate change. Brazil, as the current G20 Chair, has endorsed efforts to tax the super-rich, a sentiment echoed by France.

In conclusion, Oxfam emphasizes the urgency of redirecting resources to address inequality and climate challenges, urging governments to prioritize fair taxation and increased funding for development initiatives.

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