‘West Africa’s richest 1% own more than everyone else combined’
The aid charity Oxfam says that inequality is at crisis levels in West Africa but accuses many governments in the region of ignoring the issue, despite economic growth.
A report, co-authored with financial consultancy Development Finance International, ranks West African countries on their commitment to public spending, taxation and labour markets.
The authors cite several eye-catching statistics highlighting the state of inequality.
They say the “wealthiest 1% of West Africans own more than everyone else in the region combined”.
The report also says that the combined wealth of Nigeria’s five richest men – $29.9bn (£24bn) – is more than their government’s budget in 2017.
Overall, the authors found that the three countries most committed to reducing inequality were Cape Verde, Mauritania and Senegal.
The least committed were Niger, Sierra Leone and Nigeria.
To address the problems “West African governments must promote progressive taxation, boost social spending, strengthen labour market protection, invest in agriculture and strengthen land rights for smallholder farmers,” Oxfam’s Adama Coulibaly said.