Nearshore Americas

Fortunes of 98 Wealthiest in LATAM as Big as GDP of Chile and Ecuador

Wealth disparity in Latin America, although well known, was led bare by a new Oxfam report.

The fortunes of 98 multi-millionaires in Latin America amount to US$480 billion, or the annual GDP of Chile and Ecuador combined,

The two richest men in the region, Mexican businessmen Carlos Slim and Germán Larrea, hold more wealth than the poorest half of Latin America’s population. That is, their fortunes surpass that of 334 million people combined.

Such a tremendous gap in wealth was attributed by Oxfam to the region’s tax infrastructures, which allow for wealth concentration instead of distribution.  The poorest half of the population pays a significantly higher proportion of their income in taxes (45%) compared to the richest (less than 20%). This translates to lower public revenue for Latin American countries.

Tax collection in Latin America and the Caribbean falls far below the OECD average, leaving a gap of US$544 billion that could be used to address poverty and social needs, Oxfam pointed out.

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Around 20 million more people in Latin America have fallen below the poverty line since 2015, a situation that fuels violence and crime.

Oxfam underscored the need for a tax reform which ensures the wealthiest in Latin America pay their fair share. This will allow stronger public finances, which will in turn help address the region’s challenges.

Narayan Ammachchi

News Editor for Nearshore Americas, Narayan Ammachchi is a career journalist with a decade of experience in politics and international business. He works out of his base in the Indian Silicon City of Bangalore.

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