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Oxfam says world's ten richest men doubled fortunes during Covid crisis

By Michael Fitzpatrick - RFI
Europe REUTERSStephane Mahe
JAN 17, 2022 LISTEN
REUTERSStephane Mahe

The world's ten wealthiest men doubled their fortunes during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic, as poverty and inequality soared, according to a report from the global food charity Oxfam.

French billionaire Bernard Arnault is one of ten individuals who have seen their personal fortunes double during the Covid crisis.

The ten men were making an average of one billion euros every day, seeing their combined wealth increase more in 24 months than over the previous 14 years.

This while the global economy was suffering the worst recession since the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

In a report published on the eve of a virtual mini-summit of world leaders under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, Oxfam says the men's wealth jumped from 600 million euros to 1.2 trillion.

Oxfam points out that the coronavirus pandemic has seen a surge in poverty and inequality.

The confederation of global charities says the  "economic violence" of inequality is contributing to the death of 21,000 people every day due to a lack of access to healthcare, gender-based violence, hunger and climate change.

Millions plunged into poverty

The pandemic has plunged 160 million people into poverty, the charity added, with non-white ethnic minorities and women bearing the brunt of the impact as inequality has soared.

The report follows a December 2021 study by the group which found that the share of global wealth of the world's richest people had increased at a record pace during the pandemic.

Oxfam urged tax reforms to fund worldwide vaccine production as well as healthcare, climate adaptation and gender-based violence reduction in order to save lives.

The charity group said it based its wealth calculations on the most up-to-date and comprehensive data sources available, and used the 2021 Billionaires List compiled by the US business magazine Forbes.

Forbes listed the world's ten richest men as: Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, former Microsoft CEOs Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer, former Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, US investor Warren Buffet and the head of the French luxury group LVMH, Bernard Arnault.

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