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Africa

Afcon 2021: Malawi feeding off support back home, says Gabadinho Mhango

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 19:39
Malawi forward Gabadinho Mhango says the strength of their support back home is driving the Flames on at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Cameroon top group with Cape Verde draw

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 19:09
Hosts Cameroon confirm top spot in Group A at the Africa Cup of Nations following a 1-1 draw with Cape Verde.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Burkina Faso progress to last 16 after draw with Ethiopia

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 18:55
Burkina Faso secure second spot in Group A and reach the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations with a 1-1 draw against Ethiopia.
Categories: Africa

A Call to Action on Living Lands

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 18:50

By Patricia Scotland
GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Jan 17 2022 (IPS)

If the ocean is the lifeblood of the Commonwealth, then forests are the lungs that breathe life into its whole system. From the vast boreal woodlands of Canada to the rich primary forests of Papua New Guinea, the Commonwealth covers nearly a quarter of all forest land in the world – an estimated 900 million hectares. These biodiversity havens not only house about half of all animal species on earth, they also give us clean air, water and food, supporting the livelihoods of millions of people while tackling climate change.

Last weekend, I had the privilege of trekking the stunning Amazonian rainforests of Guyana. It was my second time to do so since visiting the Iwokrama Reserve in 2016, but I was still left awestruck by the sight of rolling jungle-shrouded mountains that stretched far as the eye could see, home to jaguars, anacondas and hundreds of exotic bird species. Listening to the thunderous vibrations of the Potaro River plunging 250 metres in the world’s largest single drop waterfall, Kaieteur Falls, I wondered how so much of humankind had become distanced from these wonders of nature.

Globally, forests such as the Amazon are being destroyed at alarming rates, placing increasing pressure on the wildlife and driving many species into extinction. The UN estimates that 420 million hectares of forest – roughly the land area of the entire European Union – have been lost since 1990, despite the rate of deforestation dropping in recent years. The main driver is no surprise: rapid agricultural expansion is needed to feed the demands of an ever-growing global population, whether through large scale commercial farming or local subsistence agriculture.

Fortunately, in Guyana, where more than 80 percent of the total land area is forest, deforestation rates are extremely low – less than one percent – thanks to strong government policies and international support. However, the lucrative mining of bauxite and gold as well as the recent discovery of oil, which has propelled the country to become one of the fastest growing economies on the planet, still presents a common dilemma for developing nations. This is the balancing act of delivering a healthy economy, social cohesion and equality, while protecting the environment and fighting climate change fuelled by the burning of fossil fuels.

Just a few months ago, I was in Glasgow for the UN Climate Change Conference known as COP26, meeting with countless negotiators, experts and world leaders about how the international community should respond to the climate crisis. In a world where we are already grappling with the frightening effects of a heating planet, I observed a growing awareness amongst decisionmakers of the need to shift to sustainability in order for human civilisation to survive. At the same time, it was clear that almost all countries were also motivated by the drive for economic growth, job creation and enhancing their so-called standard of living.

In this regard, it was a statement by Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali during a high level event held at the Commonwealth Pavilion at COP26 that resonated with me: “Whatever plan we come up with at the national, regional and international levels must be comprehensive in its outlook. We cannot only look at climate change in isolation of food security, or debt security, or national prosperity. We have to find an integrated way which leads to an integrated solution.”

It is precisely this line of thinking that has spurred an increasing number of Commonwealth member countries to support the ‘Call to Action on Living Lands’, which I announced more than a year ago. This call to action lays the groundwork for a Commonwealth Living Lands Charter to be proposed for adoption at the forthcoming meeting of Commonwealth Heads of Government scheduled for later this year in Kigali, Rwanda. The proposed Charter recognises those valuable links between different and sometimes conflicting interests of member countries. It will seek to catalyse the global political momentum to address climate action and resilience, biodiversity loss and land degradation, in a coordinated and cohesive approach. Commonwealth countries will be able to share learning and cooperate in developing and implementing solutions. When implemented successfully, this will transform the climate, biodiversity and development agendas.

But what does that mean for ordinary Commonwealth citizens? In a word, hope. The Call for Action on Living Lands enables governments to cooperate and pave the way to learn about and access more sustainable, inclusive, innovative and efficient ways of growing food, making a living off the land and adapting to climate change. Focus areas to be explored within the Charter include climate resilient agriculture, soil and water conservation and management, sustainable green cover and biodiversity, and the active engagement of indigenous people. These are standing topics of discussion when I meet with Commonwealth leaders, including Guyana’s top decision makers with whom I convened this week.

My visit to Guyana was both rewarding and deeply moving. However, it was when I called on the Santa Aratak community, a village of around 3,000 indigenous Arawak located 25 miles from the capital city of Georgetown, that the significance of the trip came full circle. Like most indigenous groups, Amerindians make the best land stewards because of their traditional values and principles around living sustainably, understanding natural ecosystems and maintaining the pristine state of the environment. Their world view is similar to indigenous cultures elsewhere in the Commonwealth, including parts of Africa and the Pacific Islands. Perhaps as we embark on this new year, we should take their vision as an inspiration – we should all see ourselves as stewards of our living lands.

The Right Honourable Patricia Scotland is the sixth Secretary-General of the Commonwealth and the first woman to hold the post. She leads an organisation of 54 countries working together to promote democracy, peace and sustainable development. Born in Dominica and raised in the United Kingdom, she was also the first woman to be named Attorney General for England and Wales and served in various ministerial roles.

This piece was first published on Stabroek Sunday.

 


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Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: 'Be like guinea pigs' - how Equatorial Guinea beat Algeria

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 15:13
Equatorial Guinea had to 'sacrifice some players to be like guinea pigs' in order to beat Algeria at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang will return to Arsenal for further medical checks after leaving tournament

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 15:09
Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is released from Gabon's Africa Cup of Nations squad and will return to Arsenal to undergo further medical checks.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Algeria are in a 'difficult situation' says coach Djamel Belmadi

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 12:38
Algeria coach Djamel Belmadi admits his side are in a "really tough" situation after taking just one point from their first two matches at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Guinea-Bissau players 'in tears' after Egypt defeat following disallowed goal

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 11:04
Guinea-Bissau players were 'lying on the floor in tears' after their agonising 1-0 defeat by Egypt at the Africa Cup of Nations.
Categories: Africa

The Most Likely to Be in the Jailhouse Now

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 10:52

Credit: Bigstock

By Joseph Chamie
PORTLAND, USA, Jan 17 2022 (IPS)

Yes, it’s unequivocally true: Americans are the most likely to be in the jailhouse now. The United States is the world’s leader in incarceration both in terms of the total number of people in prisons and jails and the rate of prisoners per capita.

The U.S. national incarceration rate, prisoners per 100,000 population, plainly stands out as the world’s highest at approximately 630. The countries with incarceration rates closest to the U.S. are Rwanda, Turkmenistan and El Salvador at around 575. The incarceration rate for the world at 140 as well as the rates for nearly all developed countries, in contrast, are a fraction of the United States rate (Figure 1).

 

Source: Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research.

 

Moreover, the incarceration rates for the U.S. states are greater than those of most developed democracies. For example, the lowest state incarceration rate of 109 in Massachusetts is significantly greater than the rates for Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, which are below 90 prison inmates per 100,000 population.

Despite having slightly less than one-twentieth of the world’s population, the United States has approximately 20 percent of the world’s prison population

The high incarceration rate is a relatively recent phenomenon for the United States. Between 1925 to 1975, for example, the U.S. incarceration rate was relatively stable at around 110 prisoners per 100,000 population. In the late 1970s the rate increased significantly, more than quadrupling since then, following the get tough on crime movement that swept across the country

Despite having slightly less than one-twentieth of the world’s population, the United States has approximately 20 percent of the world’s prison population. At the end of 2019 the number of prisoners held in the U.S. was the world’s largest at about 2.2 million.

That number of U.S. prisoners is about 10 percent lower than the peak level of inmates in prisons and jails of about 2.3 million in 2008. However, the current number of prisoners is substantially higher than it was in the mid 20th century. Fifty years ago, for example, the number of U.S. prisoners was 200,000, or close to 2 million less than it is today.

Following the United States in a distant second place is China with 1.7 million prisoners, or about 16 percent of the world total. It is followed by Brazil, India and Russia with approximately 0.8 million, 0.5 million and 0.5 million, respectively (Figure 2).

 

Source: Institute for Crime and Justice Policy Research.

 

It is important to recognize that while the estimated total global prison population is over 11 million, that number is likely to be an underestimate of the world total. For example, if the numbers of underreported and political prisoners as well as those held in detention centers in various countries around the world, such as China, Eritrea, Indonesia, Myanmar, North Korea and Somalia, are included, the total worldwide prison population is believed to be more than 12 million.

In many parts of the world, prison populations are continuing to rise. For example, since the start of the 21st century, the prison populations have tripled in South America, more than doubled in south-eastern Asia and has nearly doubled in Oceania.

In the United States, in contrast, the number of prisoners in recent years has declined. The U.S. imprisonment rate in 2019 was at the lowest level since 1995. From 2009 to 2019, for example, the number of prisoners under state or federal jurisdiction dropped by 11 percent and the incarceration rate fell by 17 percent.

In some countries, including the U.S., the COVID-19 pandemic has also contributed to declines in prisoner numbers. Court operations, delays in trials and sentencing of persons led to a 40 percent decrease in admissions to U.S. state and federal prisons from 2019 and spurred a 25 percent drop in inmates held in local jails.

As is the case worldwide, the overwhelming majority of prisoners in the U.S. are males. In 2019, for example, females made up about 10 percent of those held in U.S. prisons and jails, or about 0.2 million, and constituted the highest female incarceration rate worldwide. Also, U.S. male prisoners are mostly under age 40, come from disadvantaged communities, are disproportionately minorities and often have drug and alcohol addictions.

U.S. incarceration rates also vary considerably by region and state. The states with the highest incarceration rates are typically located in the south. The top three states, for example, were Louisiana, Mississippi and Oklahoma, all with rates above 600 in 2019. In contrast, the three states with the lowest rates, all around 150 or less, were Massachusetts, Maine and Rhode Island.

At the end of 2019 slightly less than half, or about 46 percent, of sentenced federal prisoners were serving time for drug trafficking and 8 percent for a violent offense. Similarly among sentenced state prisoners, the most common offense was drug-related and about one out of seven, or 14 percent, were serving time for murder or manslaughter.

America’s high level of incarceration has raised various issues, including the civil rights of poor people and minorities, the crowded facilities with health risks and the financial strains on state budgets. Some contend that incarceration dehumanizes individuals, does little to increase public safety and is damaging to marginalized communities.

Also, many prisoners after being released encounter serious challenges. Among those challenges are reentering the labor force, finding suitable housing, reestablishing familial, social and community relationships, accessing public assistance and avoiding criminal activities.

Spending on prisons and jails also varies considerably across the United States. Those costs typically involve providing security, food, housing, recreation, education, maintenance and healthcare for prisoners.

The annual costs per inmate range from lows of below $20,000 in states such as Alabama, Kentucky and Oklahoma to highs of more than $50,000 in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. Also, invariably across U.S. states, the annual costs of keeping an inmate imprisoned are significantly greater than government monies spent to educate an elementary/secondary school student in an academic year.

Various explanations or factors have been offered for why the United States has the world’s highest incarceration rate. Prominent among those explanations is the war on drugs, which over the years incarcerated a lot of people. Many experts contend that treatment for drug offenders would be a better option than incarceration.

Other factors and practices believed to contribute to the high U.S. incarceration rates include: harsher sentencing laws; longer prison sentences; greater likelihood of imprisonment; higher rates of violent crime; easily available firearms; a legacy of racial discrimination; the U.S. temperament; the lack of a social safety net; inadequate reentry services; employment discrimination; jail time for misdemeanors or low-level offenses; and the lack the funds to cover bail.

Also, most U.S. state judges and prosecutors are elected and consequently tend to be sensitive to public opinion about appropriate responses to crime. In contrast, criminal justice professionals in other developed countries are civil servants who are less likely to be pressured for lengthy jail time.

In sum, little disagreement exists about who are the most likely to be in the jailhouse now: residents of the United States. The reasons behind this lamentable incarceration achievement, however, are less indisputable. Also, the policies, changes and programs needed to address it remain contentious issues among U.S. elected officials, criminal justice professionals, law enforcement officers and the public.

Consequently, it seems that at least for the foreseeable future, the United States will retain its title as the world’s incarceration leader both in terms of the total number of people in prisons and jail and the rate of prisoners per capita.

* Joseph Chamie is a consulting demographer, a former director of the United Nations Population Division and author of numerous publications on population issues, including his recent book, “Births, Deaths, Migrations and Other Important Population Matters.”

 

Categories: Africa

Ominous History in Real Time: Where We Are Now in the USA

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 10:45

US President Joseph R. Biden Jr. addresses the general debate of the UN General Assembly’s 76th session last year. In his inaugural address to the annual gathering of world leaders at the UN, Biden called for a new era of global unity against the compounding crises of COVID-19, climate change and insecurity. Credit: UN Photo/Cia Pak

By Norman Solomon
SAN FRANCISCO, USA, Jan 17 2022 (IPS)

The final big legislative achievement of 2021 was a bill authorizing $768 billion in military spending for the next fiscal year. President Biden signed it two days after the Christmas holiday glorifying the Prince of Peace.

Dollar figures can look abstract on a screen, but they indicate the extent of the mania. Biden had asked for “only” $12 billion more than President Trump’s bloated military budget of the previous year — but that wasn’t enough for the bipartisan hawkery in the House and Senate, which provided a boost of $37 billion instead.

Overall, military spending accounts for about half of the federal government’s total discretionary spending — while programs for helping instead of killing are on short rations at many local, state, and national government agencies. It’s a nonstop trend of reinforcing the warfare state in sync with warped neoliberal priorities. While outsized profits keep benefiting the upper class and enriching the already obscenely rich, the cascading effects of extreme income inequality are drowning the hopes of the many.

Corporate power constrains just about everything, whether healthcare or education or housing or jobs or measures for responding to the climate emergency. What prevails is the political structure of the economy.

Class war in the United States has established what amounts to oligarchy. A zero-sum economic system, aka corporate capitalism, is constantly exercising its power to reward and deprive. The dominant forces of class warfare — disproportionately afflicting people of color while also steadily harming many millions of whites — continue to undermine basic human rights including equal justice and economic security.

In the real world, financial power is political power. A system that runs on money is adept at running over people without it.

The words “I can’t breathe,” repeated nearly a dozen times by Eric Garner in a deadly police chokehold, resonated for countless people whose names we’ll never know. The intersections of racial injustice and predatory capitalism are especially virulent zones, where many lives gradually or suddenly lose what is essential for life.

Discussions of terms like “racism” and “poverty” too easily become facile, abstracted from human consequences, while unknown lives suffocate at the hands of routine injustice, systematic cruelties, the way things predictably are.

An all-out war on democracy is now underway in the United States. More than ever, the Republican Party is the electoral arm of unabashed white supremacy as well as such toxicities as xenophobia, nativism, anti-gay bigotry, patriarchy, and misogyny.

The party’s rigid climate denial is nothing short of deranged. Its approach to the Covid pandemic has amounted to an embrace of death in the name of rancid individualism. With its Supreme Court justices in place, the “Grand Old Party” has methodically slashed voting rights and abortion rights.

Overall, on domestic matters, the partisan matchup is between neoliberalism and neofascism. While the abhorrent roles of the Democratic leadership are extensive, to put it mildly, the two parties now represent hugely different constituencies and agendas at home. Not so on matters of war and peace.

Both parties continue to champion what Martin Luther King Jr. called “the madness of militarism.” When King described the profligate spending for a distant war as “some demonic, destructive suction tube,” he was condemning dynamics that endure with a vengeance.

Today, the madness and the denial are no less entrenched. A militaristic core serves as a sacred touchstone for faith in America as the world’s one and only indispensable nation. Gargantuan Pentagon budgets are taken for granted, as is the assumed prerogative to bomb other countries at will.

Every budget has continued to include massive outlays for nuclear weapons, including gigantic expenditures for so-called “modernization” of the nuclear arsenal. A fact that this book cited when it was first published — that the United States had ten thousand nuclear warheads and Russia had a comparable number — is no longer true; most estimates say those stockpiles are now about half as large.

But the current situation is actually much more dangerous. In 2007, the Doomsday Clock maintained by The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists pegged the world’s proximity to annihilation at five minutes to apocalyptic Midnight.

As 2022 began, the symbolic hands were at one hundred seconds to Midnight. Such is the momentum of the nuclear arms race, fueled by profit-driven military contractors. Lofty rhetoric about seeking peace is never a real brake on the nationalistic thrust of militarism.

With the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, the third decade of this century is shaping up to unfold new wrinkles in American hegemonic conceits. Along the way, Joe Biden has echoed a central precept of doublethink in George Orwell’s most famous novel, 1984: “War is Peace.”

Speaking at the United Nations as the autumn of 2021 began, Biden proclaimed: “I stand here today, for the first time in twenty years, with the United States not at war. We’ve turned the page.” But the turned page was bound into a volume of killing with no foreseeable end.

The United States remained at war, bombing in the Middle East and elsewhere, with much information withheld from the public. And increases in U.S. belligerence toward both Russia and China escalated the risks of a military confrontation that could lead to nuclear war.

A rosy view of the USA’s future is only possible when ignoring history in real time. After four years of the poisonous Trump presidency, the Biden strain of corporate liberalism offers a mix of antidotes and ongoing toxins. The Republican Party, now neofascist, is in a strong position to gain control of the U.S. government by mid-decade.

Preventing such a cataclysm seems beyond the grasp of the same Democratic Party elites that paved the way for Donald Trump to become president in the first place. Realism about the current situation — clarity about how we got here and where we are now — is necessary to mitigate impending disasters and help create a better future. Vital truths must be told. And acted upon.

This article is adapted from the new edition of Norman Solomon’s book “Made Love, Got War,” just published as a free e-book.

Norman Solomon is the national director of RootsAction.org and the author of a dozen books including Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America’s Warfare State, published in a new edition as a free e-book in January 2022. His other books include War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 and 2020 Democratic National Conventions. Solomon is the founder and executive director of the Institute for Public Accuracy.

 


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Categories: Africa

As the Pandemic Devastates the Poor, the World’s 10 Richest Have Multiplied their Wealth into Trillions

Africa - INTER PRESS SERVICE - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 09:15

In Malawi, some students have been going to school amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: UNICEF/Malumbo Simwaka

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Jan 17 2022 (IPS)

The numbers are unbelievably staggering: the world’s 10 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, according to a new study from Oxfam International.

These phenomenal changes in fortunes took place during the first two years of a Covid-19 pandemic that has seen the incomes of 99 percent of humanity fall, and over 160 million more people forced into poverty—60 million more than the figures released by the World Bank in 2020.

“If these ten men were to lose 99.999 percent of their wealth tomorrow, they would still be richer than 99 percent of all the people on this planet,” said Oxfam International’s Executive Director Gabriela Bucher.
“They now have six times more wealth than the poorest 3.1 billion people.”

“It has never been so important to start righting the violent wrongs of this obscene inequality by clawing back elites’ power and extreme wealth including through taxation —getting that money back into the real economy and to save lives,” she said.

According to Forbes magazine, the 10 richest people, as of 30 November 2021, who have seen their fortunes grow, include Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault & family, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, Larry Page, Sergey Brin, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Ballmer and Warren Buffet.

The pandemic has hit the poorest people, women and racialized and marginalized groups the hardest. For example, in the US, 3.4 million Black Americans would be alive today if their life expectancy was the same as White people —this is directly linked to historical racism and colonialism, according to the study titled “Inequality Kills” released January 17, ahead of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) online Davos Agenda.

The report finds that a new billionaire is created every 26 hours while inequality is contributing to the death of at least 21,000 people each day, or one person every four seconds.

Other findings include:

    — The pandemic has set gender parity back from 99 years to now 135 years. 252 men have more wealth than all 1 billion women and girls in Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean combined.

    — During the second wave of the pandemic in England, people of Bangladeshi origin were five times more likely to die of COVID-19 than the White British population. Black people in Brazil are 1.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than White people.

    — Inequality between countries is expected to rise for the first time in a generation. The proportion of people with COVID-19 who die from the virus in developing countries is roughly double that in rich countries.

Asked for his comments, Ben Phillips, author of How to Fight Inequality, told IPS the new report “confirms four vital truths about inequality are now proven beyond doubt.

Firstly, inequality kills. Inequality is not just inefficient and unfair. As the data shows, it is deadly.

Secondly, inequality is spiralling. The driving cause is neoliberalism, but it has now been supercharged by the pandemic.

Thirdly, inequality is a political choice. The rise in inequality is not inevitable. Governments can reduce inequality if they decide to do so.

Fourthly, policy-makers will only shift if we make them do so. A reversal in inequality depends on us, ordinary citizens, organizing to push our leaders to make them do their job and put in place the policies that will deliver a fairer, safer, world.”

Striking a hopeful note, Phillips said: “Though the crisis has made inequality even worse and even harder to bear,” he said, “the crisis also, paradoxically, has generated an opportunity for transformational shift to tackle inequality, if we seize this moment”.

“We know the policy mix needed – get the vaccine to everyone by sharing the rights and recipes, drop the debt, expand public services like free health and education, raise up ordinary people’s wages and worker’s rights, tackle discrimination, put money in the hands of ordinary people, and properly tax, and restrain the economic and political power, of big corporations and the super-rich.”

Change depends on ordinary people, Phillips said. “The myths of equal opportunity and rising tides have been busted, but the truth alone will not set us free. Left to itself, the rigged economy will continue to worsen inequality. Left to themselves, politicians will allow it, even enable it, to do so.

Only pressure from below can secure a reversal of rising inequality. The good news is that around the world, frustration is increasingly being channelled into a resurgence of organizing that has potential to shift the balance of power.

Unions, community organizations, women’s groups, progressive faith organizations and social movements are standing up and standing together. This is the source of hope. This is our chance – if enough people join in. Inequality defines this moment but need not be our fate,” declared Phillips.

According to the Oxfam report, billionaires’ wealth has risen more since COVID-19 began than it has in the last 14 years. At $5 trillion dollars, this is the biggest surge in billionaire wealth since records began. A one-off 99 percent tax on the ten richest men’s pandemic windfalls, for example, could pay:

    — to make enough vaccines for the world;
    — to provide universal healthcare and social protection, fund climate adaptation and reduce gender-based violence in over 80 countries;
    — All this, while still leaving these men $8 billion better off than they were before the pandemic.

“Billionaires have had a terrific pandemic. Central banks pumped trillions of dollars into financial markets to save the economy, yet much of that has ended up lining the pockets of billionaires riding a stock market boom. Vaccines were meant to end this pandemic, yet rich governments allowed pharma billionaires and monopolies to cut off the supply to billions of people. The result is that every kind of inequality imaginable risks rising. The predictability of it is sickening. The consequences of it kill,” said Bucher.

Extreme inequality is a form of economic violence, where policies and political decisions that perpetuate the wealth and power of a privileged few results in direct harm to the vast majority of ordinary people across the world and the planet itself.

Oxfam recommends that governments urgently:

    — Claw back the gains made by billionaires by taxing this huge new wealth made since the start of the pandemic through permanent wealth and capital taxes.

    — Invest the trillions that could be raised by these taxes toward progressive spending on universal healthcare and social protection, climate change adaptation, and gender-based violence prevention and programming.

    — Tackle sexist and racist laws that discriminate against women and racialized people and create new gender-equal laws to uproot violence and discrimination. All sectors of society must urgently define policies that will ensure women, racialized and other oppressed groups are represented in all decision-making spaces.

    — End laws that undermine the rights of workers to unionize and strike, and set up stronger legal standards to protect them.

    — And rich governments must immediately waive intellectual property rules over COVID-19 vaccine technologies to allow more countries to produce safe and effective vaccines to usher in the end of the pandemic.

Antonia Kirkland, global lead for Legal Equality & Access to Justice at Equality Now, told IPS the socio-economic fallout of COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted women, compounding pre-existing inequalities in the home and workplace. Women have been more likely to shoulder an even greater burden of responsibility for unpaid childcare and household chores in comparison to men.

“Women have lost paid work and had to take on more unpaid work, and of particular concern is how mothers have been pushed out of the workforce because of a lack of affordable childcare options. The expectations put on mothers in particular to take on the lion’s share of childcare and manage their children’s remote schooling forced many women to reduce their working hours, be furloughed, or drop out of the labor force altogether. Unequal pay because of gender discrimination means women in heterosexual family households have been more likely to leave employment if their spouse or partner brings in more income.”

She said the unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID19 pandemic should be seized upon as a catalyst for positive change and business recovery planning needs to prioritize attracting and retaining women within the workplace. This includes fostering flexible, inclusive working policies and practices, and supportive hiring and promotion processes that benefit women and families.

“As this startling report – Inequality Kills – shows, income inequality and gender inequality are intimately linked. And to stop COVID related inequality from killing women and other vulnerable people and instead put both gender and income equality first, States must get rid of all discriminatory laws. Sexist laws and gender stereotypes during the pandemic have perpetuated economic violence against women and exacerbated physical domestic violence,” Kirkland declared.

Download the “Inequality Kills” report and summary and the methodology document outlining how Oxfam calculated the statistics in the report.

Oxfam’s calculations are based on the most up-to-date and comprehensive data sources available. Figures on the very richest in society come from Forbes’ 2021 Billionaires List. Figures on the share of wealth come from the Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Databook 2021. Figures on the incomes of the 99 percent are from the World Bank.

 


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Categories: Africa

Nigeria's economy: Why people are buying sanitary pads in packs of two

BBC Africa - Mon, 01/17/2022 - 02:04
A so-called "sachet economy" has emerged as high inflation makes everyday items too expensive for many.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Sierra Leone snatch late draw against Ivory Coast

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 19:14
Sierra Leone's Alhadji Kamara nets a dramatic injury-time equaliser to grab a 2-2 draw against the Ivory Coast in Douala.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Tunisia bounce back to thrash Mauritania

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 18:55
Tunisia bounce back from their controversial opening defeat at the Africa Cup of Nations by brushing aside Mauritania 4-0 in Group F.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: The Gambia and Mali close in on last 16 after draw

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 16:01
The Gambia and Mali both move to the brink of the last 16 at the Africa Cup of Nations as they play out a 1-1 draw.
Categories: Africa

Afcon 2021: Algeria v Equatorial Guinea

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 15:21
Live coverage of Sunday's Africa Cup of Nations Group E game between Algeria and Equatorial Guinea (19:00 GMT).
Categories: Africa

Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta: Ousted Mali president dies aged 76

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 15:04
Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta was forced from power in 2020 after protests over security, economy and elections.
Categories: Africa

Crystal Asige: How glaucoma stole my sight

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 12:23
Kenya singer and songwriter Crystal Asige shares her journey with an eye condition called Glaucoma.
Categories: Africa

Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu: Somali spokesman injured in Mogadishu

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 11:46
Mohamed Ibrahim Moalimuu, a former BBC journalist, has been taken to hospital for treatment.
Categories: Africa

Kenyan vigilantes taking on avocado gangs

BBC Africa - Sun, 01/16/2022 - 01:38
Cartels have begun to target the lucrative crop and farmers are arming themselves.
Categories: Africa

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