The 2019 Oxfam Wealth Report has ranked eSwatini number one on the list of most income unequal countries in Africa.
The report, titled “A Tale of Two Continents: Fighting Inequality in Africa”, which was distributed during the just-ended World Economic Forum for Africa summit held in South Africa, showed that eSwatini is the most unequal country on the continent in terms of income, followed by Nigeria, South Africa and Namibia.
“There is little doubt that this economic divide stands stubbornly in the way of a brighter future for the continent,” the report said.
It noted that wealth inequality is also increasing in Africa, with the richest 0.0001 percent owning 40 percent of the continent’s entire wealth.
“While the richest Africans see their wealth grow thanks to healthy returns on their investments and capital, too many others struggle to earn a decent living from their labour,” the report said.
It added: “Today, there are 20 billionaires in Africa, living alongside 413 million people in extreme poverty. South Africa is home to five of these billionaires, as well as 50 000 millionaires.”
The Coordinating Assembly of Non-Governmental Organisations (CANGO) said colonization and expropriation of resources continued to haunt eSwatini and other African countries.
“eSwatini has to act on the findings of the report by eliminating the economic differences between the poor and the rich,” CANGO’s Nkosingiphile Myeni said.
He said the country should promote efficient and progressive tax systems, invest in free, quality and gender-responsive public services.
According to World Bank statistics, about 39.7 percent of eSwatini’s population lived under the international 1.90-dollar poverty line in 2017 and 2018.