Three African billionaires today have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent, reveals a new Oxfam report today.
The report, called “A Tale of Two Continents”, is launched as African political and business leaders gather this week for the World Economic Forum Africa meeting in Cape Town, South Africa. It shows how rising and extreme inequality across Africa is undermining efforts to fight poverty.
A Tale of Two Continents reveals that while the richest Africans fortunes are increasing, extreme poverty is rising in the continent. The report also looks at how unsustainable levels of debt and a rigged international tax system are depriving African governments of billions of dollars in lost revenue each year – money that could otherwise be invested in education, healthcare and social protection.
The continent is rapidly becoming the epicentre of global extreme poverty. While the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has plummeted in Asia, this number is rising in Africa. The World Bank estimates that 87% of the world’s extreme poor will be in Africa by 2030, if current trends continue.
Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International, said:
“Africa is ready to rise – but only once it’s leaders have the courage to back a more human economy that works for the many and not a few super-rich men. They can achieve this by investing in inequality-busting, universal and quality public services like health and education and by developing truly progressive tax systems. These are particularly powerful for women and girls living in poverty. They can also back a transformation towards decent and dignified work that protects the rights of workers, especially in the age of the African Free Trade Area and the new digital era.”
The report features a first-ever ranking of African nations on their commitment to tackling inequality. The Commitment to Reducing Inequality Index, developed by Oxfam and Development Finance International, ranks countries on their policies on social spending, tax, and labour rights – three areas the organizations say are critical to reducing inequality. South Africa and Namibia take first and second place respectively, with their strong social spending and a progressive tax system. Nigeria meanwhile has an unenviable distinction of being at the bottom of the Africa ranking, as well as the global ranking for two years running.
The report shows that:
3 African billionaires now have more wealth than the poorest 50% – or 650 million people across the continent
The most unequal country in the region, Swaziland, is home to one billionaire, Nathan Kirsh, who is estimated to have $4.9bn. If he worked in one of the restaurants that his wholesale company supplies on a worker’s minimum wage, it would take him 5.7 million years to earn his current level of wealth
The combined wealth of the 5 richest Nigerians is more than enough to end poverty in Nigeria. Nigeria’s girl population makes up 60% of the more than 10 million children who do not go to school.
75% of the wealth of African multi-millionaires and billionaires is held offshore, as result the continent is losing $14billion annually in uncollected tax revenue.
Dangerous and unsustainable levels of debt are hurting social spending. In 2018, Angola spent 57% of government revenue on debt repayments while public spending was cut by 19% between 2016 and 2018. Similar trends are present in Ghana, Egypt, Cameroon and Mozambique
African women and girls are also most likely to be poor. They also stand to lose the most when public services like healthcare and education are underfunded. In Kenya, a boy from a rich family has a one-in-three chance of continuing his studies beyond secondary school. However, a girl from a poor family has a 1-in-250 chance of doing so. Women and girls also bear the brunt of failing healthcare systems, clocking in hours of unpaid care work looking after sick relatives. In Malawi, women spend seven times the amount of time on unpaid care work than men.
Ms Byanyima said:
“African political and business leaders face a clear choice. They can stay on the path of increasingly extreme inequality, where poverty continues to rise while wealth in the hands of a tiny elite and foreign companies’ spirals. Or they can choose another way: towards a more prosperous and equal Africa that invests in and respects the dignity of all its people.”
Source: Oxfam International
1 million waste bin project launched in Accra
Universal Plastic Products and Recycling(UPPR) Ghana Limited in collaboration with Ecobank Ghana Limited and the Environment Service Providers Association has launched a 1 million Waste Bin project aimed at reducing “indiscriminate disposal” of waste in Ghana.
The launch which took place at the headquarters of ECOBANK GHANA LIMITED saw in attendance various stakeholders in the sanitation value chain,including the ministry of sanitation, members of Parliament, municipal assembly members and the media.
According to the managing director of Ecobank Ghana Limited,Mr Dean Sackey, Ecobank Ghana’s collaboration in this big project stems from its commitment to helping in the creation of massive awareness about environmental cleanliness among Ghanaians.
He reiterated the need for every home in Ghana to have a waste bin which according to him is essential in ensuring proper disposal and recycling of waste.
He revealed that Ecobank on its part has invested at least 10 million dollars as a medium term loan facility to support the production of waste bins to be distributed across the country.
The president of the Environmental Service Providers,Dr Joseph Siaw Agyepong indicated that the current filth insurgency engulfing the country can be attributed to the lack of sufficient waste bins in homes,workplaces,public bus stations and other places of the public sphere.
Speaking on the project,the chief Operating Officer for technical and Logistics Cluster of the Jospong Group of companies,Mr Alex Atakorah indicated that ensuring good sanitary conditions in Ghana can only come about through Public-Private partnership approach which is currently being pursued.
According to him,the Sustainable development goals which support a clean environment could never be achieved without the use of waste bins.
He also revealed that most of the operation the the Universal Plastic Products and Recycling are sourced and recovered from their dumpsites and landfills which all contribute immensely towards reducing the waste burden on the country.
The 1 million Waste project is expected to further complement the existing sanitation initiatives by the various government institutions in the country including Metropolitan assemblies and District Assemblies.
The special waste bins under the 1 million Waste Bin project have been fitted with Radio Frequency Identity tags that enable the Waste management companies to closely monitored to record how often the bins get emptied.
This feature is expected to eliminate the current situation of “Over-spill” of waste bins which often lead to air pollution and contamination.
Uniformed officials of the waste management companies with ID cards are expected to move into communities for the purposes of distributing and registering of the waste bins to homes,schools,offices and other public spaces.
Ghana signs deal to buy six aircraft for new national airline
The government on Tuesday, November 18, 2019, signed a deal with De Havilland Aircraft of Canada at the on-going Dubai Air Show to buy six Dash8-400 aircraft to start its national airline.
Citi Business News understands that the aircraft will be purchased by the first quarter of 2020.
The plan to reestablish a national carrier has been on the drawing board for some time now.
Following the signing of the agreement, issues of financing and others are expected to be finalized which will be presented to Cabinet for approval and then to Parliament.
The new deal, signed by the Aviation Minister, Joseph Kofi Adda, is expected to boost Ghana’s dream of seeing to it that a new national airline hits the skies.
The Minister of Aviation, Joseph Kofi Adda, who signed the Memorandum of Understanding on Ghana’s behalf, said “They’re manufacturing Dash-8s, which used to be called Q-400, that can take upwards of 82 passengers. That will be able to serve the domestic and regional needs of the passengers. We’ve done our research and we’ve assessed all the aircraft available, and we think these ones are the ones most efficient and suitable given the weather and so on, that we can use to carry Ghanaians within the country and also send them to other West African countries all the way up to Senegal, The Gambia, Cameroun, and Congo as well”.
“So these are things that the route planning people will work on as far as the details are concerned. But we want to be sure we’ve got the critical sets of aircraft that the airline can start operating them.”
Ghana signs MoU for 3 Dreamliners
Ghana has also signed an MOU (Letter of intent) for three (3) Boeing 787-9 planes.
“The second one is the Boeing 787-9, that’s a long haul. Long haul means it goes trans-oceanic. It goes to Europe, North America, it can go to Middle East and Asia. These were signed for three of the aircraft. These are all Memorandum of Understanding; they’re letters of intent indicating our desire to procure these aircraft. There are other processes we have to go through now with the manufacturers themselves, the government of Ghana, the approvals that would be required from all the government levels, we have to go through that between now and the end of the year to secure that.”
The Minister says Government will be assessing the various options in procuring the aircraft.
“There are different ways of procuring an aircraft. There’s a leasing arrangement that can go on with a third party paying for the aircraft, then you will pay periodically may be monthly or quarterly for the service of the aircraft with some down payment. There’s also the outright purchase which is another option. So these are options that we’ve weighed and we will place before the government. We’re hoping that once the government makes a decision on this, we will be able to make payments that are required for the aircraft to be delivered. We’ve been able to get some good discounts from where we are starting with the two manufacturers, and we think they’re reasonable terms which I cannot disclose for now, but once I meet cabinet and parliament these will become public knowledge.”
A name for new home-based airline
According to the Aviation Minister, a search is still ongoing on how to call the new national airline.
“So we’re happy that this has brought us to one tip of the bridge, so once we conclude the procurement, then we cross over to the next end of the bridge which means that we’re now airborne with a home-based airline. The name itself we’re waiting to discuss that at the government level, and gathering some inputs from different parties.”
No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered
No more expiry of voice, data bundles – Telcos ordered
The Ministry of Communications has directed telcos to roll over all unused data and voice bundles purchased by customers.
This will mean unused data and credit will not expire.
“All unused data and voice bundles purchased by subscribers do not expire and must be rolled over with the next recharge,” the Ministry said in the statement that also directed teclos to cease the instant deduction of the Communications Service Tax (CST).
The Ministry assured that Mobile Network Operators will be subjected to “strict compliance with exiting Quality of Service (QoS) standard to ensure value for the subscribers’ money in accordance with their licence obligations.”
The directive came in a letter written to the National Communications Authority and was copied the Chief Executive Officers of MTN and Vodafone as well as the two Deputy Ministers of Communication.
The Communications Minister, Ursula Owusu-Ekuful said this was part of measures to”minimise the negative impact of deduction of the CST.”
Currently, only AirtelTigo offers data bundles that do not expire.
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