The charity says the wealthiest are continuing to grow their fortunes while “billions of people are struggling to make ends meet”.
The divide between rich and poor is “proving as deadly” as coronavirus, the boss of Oxfam said, as research shows the world’s richest people recouped their pandemic losses within just nine months.
The charity said it would take more than a decade for the world’s poorest to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic.
A survey of 295 economists from 79 countries, commissioned by Oxfam, reveals that 87% of respondents expect an “increase” or a “major increase” in income inequality in their country as a result of the pandemic.
Oxfam’s Inequality Virus report, released on the opening day of the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda, said it showed how current economic systems have allowed the wealthiest “to amass wealth in the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression while billions of people are struggling to make ends meet”.
The charity also said its research demonstrated the manner in which the pandemic was deepening long-standing economic, racial and gender divides.
Oxfam’s executive director Gabriela Bucher said: “Rigged economies are funnelling wealth to a rich elite who are riding out the pandemic in luxury, while those on the frontline of the pandemic – shop assistants, healthcare workers, and market vendors – are struggling to pay the bills and put food on the table.
“Women and marginalised racial and ethnic groups are bearing the brunt of this crisis. They are more likely to be pushed into poverty, more likely to go hungry, and more likely to be excluded from healthcare.”
The six-day virtual Davos summit will feature Indian and Chinese leaders Narendra Modi and Xi Jinping.