The richest eight people in the world now has as much wealth as the poorest half of the world – some 3.6 billion people.
The Oxfam study, released to coincide with the start of the World Economic Forum in Davos, revealed the growing gap between rich and poor was “far greater than feared”.
Katy Wright, Oxfam’s head of global external affairs, said the report helped the charity to “challenge the political and economic elites”, adding that economic inequality was fuelling a polarisation in politics. She pointed to Donald Trump’s election as US president and the Brexit vote as examples.
“We’re under no illusions that Davos is anything other than a talking shop for the world’s elite, but we try and use that focus,” she added.
The world’s eight richest billionaires
1. Bill Gates (US): co-founder of Microsoft (net worth $75bn)
2. Amancio Ortega (Spain): founder of Zara owner Inditex (net worth $67bn)
3. Warren Buffett (US): largest shareholder in Berkshire Hathaway (net worth $60.8bn)
4. Carlos Slim Helu (Mexico): owner of Grupo Carso (net worth $50bn)
5. Jeff Bezos (US): founder and chief executive of Amazon (net worth $45.2bn)
6. Mark Zuckerberg (US): co-founder and chief executive of Facebook (net worth $44.6bn)
7. Larry Ellison (US): co-founder and chief executive of Oracle (net worth $43.6bn)
8. Michael Bloomberg (US): owner of Bloomberg LP (net worth $40bn)