Despite unprecedented economic growth, inequality rates are soaring across sub-Saharan Africa, according to a report which investigates income inequality in Zambia and seven other African countries.
However, authors of the report, Tax Justice Network-Africa, and UK-based international development agency Christian Aid, say the surge in inequality is not simply the result of the rich getting richer, but more the failure of African governments to address the issue through national tax systems.
The report says that “there is clear evidence that in many cases growth is taking place at the expense of the poor, who are becoming increasingly impoverished.”
As a result, progress in human development has been “disappointingly limited” given the volume of wealth created during a decade of high growth.
The report, “Africa Rising? Inequalities and the essential role of fair taxation”, says tax is one of the most potent tools that governments have to address inequality, but tax systems in many African countries do not fulfil that function.
Instead, taxes have been introduced that disadvantage the poor, while systems that could be used to redistribute wealth more fairly “are being undermined by tax dodging and illicit finance flows facilitated by off-shore secrecy.”
The report investigates income inequality in eight sub-Saharan countries — Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Taxing the rich
It examines the ability of the tax systems in each nation to raise money to address poverty by taxing companies and individuals with higher incomes.
Mr Alvin Mosioma, spokesperson for Tax Justice Network, Africa, said the findings showed inequality is becoming a problem that should be of ‘huge concern’ to African governments.
Ms Sophie Powell, Christian Aid’s Africa policy and advocacy manager, said: “African governments are finalising their position on the framework that should succeed the Millennium Development Goals at the end of 2015.
We are particularly concern with the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH307 flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing carrying 239 passengers. The plane disappeared south of Vietnam and a search has been launched. Details of are well reported on http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576641/Terror-fears-missing-777-grow-Identities-ANOTHER-two-passengers-probed-suspicion-falls-four-booked-Chinese-airline.html.
We pray for the passengers on this plane as well as the family members who are agonizing for information at the moment. May God have mercy as we hope for the best not the worst.
There is an apparent and deliberate plan by the Patrotic Front (PF) government and its machinery to create spearhead violence and create anarchy in the country. This plan of spearheading violence and anarchy has been well thought out.
Currently, the public media is being abused to project a picture that the opposition politicalparties in Zambia were sponsoring violence when it is actually the ruling party, which is doing that using government machinery and resources.
The latest incidents were during the just ended Katuba by-elections, where government ministers were abusing the electoral code of conduct by bribing voters, provoking opponents and instigating violence, but the public media was blaming all this on the opposition parties who were merely defending themselves from attacks.
The aim of the plan by the government is to lure the people of Zambia to start rise against the government so that the President can have an opportunity to declare a state of emergency and stop the country from going to the general elections in 2016.
Zambian will not allow this to happen because this is a democracy where people have rights and freedoms guaranteed in the constitution.
We, the people of Zambia want to ensure that the AU and SADC monitor our elections in 2016. In fact, we want the AU and SADC to arrive in Zambia early enough so that they can look at the prevailing situation leading up to the general elections.
Further, we want to urge the AU and SADC to consider coming to Zambia to monitor some of the parliamentary bye-elections that are going on so the institutions are aware of the violence and other violations that are being perpetuated by the government and the ruling party.
Our objective question is that, is Dante Saunders justified in writing this letter? Is Zambian political situation so bad to deserve such international exposure?