The UK-based aid group, Oxfam International, warns that it could take more than 10 years for billions of people to recover from COVID-19 induced inequality in the world.
Oxfam commissioned a global survey of 295 economists from 79 countries and 87 per cent of them expect a major increase in income inequality in their countries.
In a report released on Monday, Oxfam urged governments across the world to act decisively to bridge the inequality gap widened by COVID-19.
It noted that the world’s richest class has recovered from the recession with more wealth while billions of people are still swimming in its murky water.
“The world’s ten richest men have seen their combined wealth increase by half a trillion dollars since the pandemic began —more than enough to pay for a COVID-19 vaccine for everyone and to ensure no one is pushed into poverty by the pandemic,” Oxfam said.
The nonprofit added that “at the same time, the pandemic has ushered in the worst job crisis in over 90 years with hundreds of millions of people now underemployed or out of work.”
Women are the hardest hit, according to the Oxfam. They are in the low-paid professions and most of them are dependent. They “make up roughly 70 per cent of the global health and social care workforce − essential but often poorly paid jobs that put them at greater risk from COVID-19.”
Gabriela Bucher, Executive Director of Oxfam International, lamented that inequality is as deadly as coronavirus pandemic around the world.
“Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic —shop assistants, healthcare workers, and market vendors— are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table,” Bucher said.
He called on the governments across the world to quickly respond to the issue and implement more equal and more inclusive policies that would end inequality and protect the planet.
“The fight against inequality must be at the heart of economic rescue and recovery efforts,” he said.
“Governments must ensure everyone has access to a COVID-19 vaccine and financial support if they lose their job.”
“They must invest in public services and low carbon sectors to create millions of new jobs and ensure everyone has access to a decent education, health, and social care, and they must ensure the richest individuals and corporations contribute their fair share of tax to pay for it.”
“These measures must not be band-aid solutions for desperate times but a ‘new normal’ in economies that work for the benefit of all people, not just the privileged few.”
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