While millions around the world grapple with economic instabilitydue to the Covid- 19 pandemic, a handful of people have more than doubled their worth. Not only were the world’s richest men unscathed by the economic strife of the last two years, they also managed to increase their wealth substantially.
A report released by global charity organisation Oxfam ahead of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, says since the start of the pandemic “[t]he world’s ten richest men more than doubled their fortunes from $700 billion to $1.5 trillion —at a rate of $15,000 per second or $1.3 billion a day— during the first two years of a pandemic that has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall and over 160 million more people forced into poverty.”
Conversely, the world’s poorest are dealing with the effects of increasing economic inequality. Oxfam says this inequality is a contributing factor in the deaths of an estimated 21,000 people per day.
The top ten richest men as identified by Forbes are Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault & family, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer, and Warren Buffett.
Women are the hardest hit, Oxfam says. Due to the pandemic and its effect on economies around the world, strides made by women globally have been pushed back by decades.
“The pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 years to now 135 years. Women collectively lost $800 billion in earnings in 2020, with 13 million fewer women in work now than there were in 2019. 252 men have more wealth than all 1 billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined,” the report, titled Inequality Kills, found.
South Africans have been hard hit by the pandemic. Currently, South Africa’s official unemployment rate stands at 34,9% according to a report by Statistics South Africa.
The latest employment statistics released in November last year found that “the number of employed persons decreased in all industries except Finance, where employment increased by 138 000. The Trade industry shed 309 000 jobs, followed by Community and social services with 210 000, and Construction and Private households with 65 000 each.