Oxfam’s report showing how developing countries have been marginalised in the process of reforming the rules for taxing multinational enterprises has been well received – unsurprisingly, perhaps, since the evidence of political marginalisation and of lost revenues is fairly clear.
After the world was plunged into a financial crisis, back in 2009, G20 leaders promised to clean up the international tax system, once and for all.
Earlier this month - on Sunday evening, April 6 to be exact - Nigeria suddenly became Africa’s largest economy. Using new data, Nigeria recalculated its GDP and overnight its wealth shot up by 90% to $509 billion, in the process leap-frogging South Africa’s. At the stroke of a pen, a Nigerian’s average income went from $1500 to $2688 a year. Nigeria’s movie industry alone became worth more than $7 billion a year, its oil industry ten times that. What didn’t change was the fact that most of its 170 million people still live below the poverty line.
In the current discussions around this week’s first High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, transparency, accountability, and inclusion are not being sufficiently integrated.
Tariq Sayed Ahmad is a Researcher with the Aid Effectiveness Team at Oxfam America.
This year the World Economic Forum (or WEF) for the Latin America region was held in Panama. A country where growth levels, which are among the 20 highest in the world, have gone hand in hand with an increase in inequality over the last 4 years – running counter to the rest of the region that has seen inequality decrease.
In January 2014, following four drafts and two years of commissions and tension, the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) of Tunisia ratified its new Constitution. The NCA was instituted by Tunisia’s first open and democratic elections which took place on October 23, 2011. It was charged with drafting the new Constitution within a year.
International agreement on the need to take action against rising and damaging economic inequality is gathering pace.
It was US President Benjamin Franklin who said, in 1789, "In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Oh how times have changed – at least for a minority. While in the past 200 years, the economic elite have not yet found a way to cheat death, they have been masterful at dodging paying their fair dues in tax.
Emerging from the financial crisis, the global economy is strengthening. Yet around the world most people are still being excluded from opportunities to better themselves and achieve prosperity. Increasingly the biggest benefits of growth are being captured instead by a tiny elite. We live in a world where the 85 richest people own the wealth of half of the world’s population.