Socialist Worker

An unequal world

Issue No. 1938


The amount the poorest countries have handed to the wealthiest nations since 1982


Number of countries that are poorer now than they were in 1990. Twenty of these countries are in sub-Saharan Africa, while 17 are in Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States


Globally 3 million people died of AIDS last year. Two million of those deaths were in sub-Saharan Africa. Twelve million children have been orphaned by AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. By 2010 this figure is expected to reach 20 million. Life expectancy has fallen in 34 countries between 1990 and 2002, due primarily to HIV/AIDS


The number of countries where the populations are hungrier today than in 1990. In 14 countries more children are dying before the age of five and primary school enrolment is declining in 12 nations


The amount the poorest countries pay in debt repayments everyday. In 2005 Indonesia’s debt payments were ten times more than spending on health and 33 times more than spending on housing


In March Forbes magazine listed a record 587 individuals and families worth $1 billion or more, an increase from 476 in 2003. The combined wealth of this year’s billionaires also reached record levels—a staggering $1.9 trillion, an increase of $500 billion in just one year


The average annual growth rate of 42 of the most highly indebted countries between 1990 and 2001. Per capita income in each of the countries is less than $1,500


Half of the world’s population lives on less than $2 a day, and a quarter on less than $1


The wealth of a few hundred of the world’s richest people exceeds the gross domestic product of the world’s 170 poorest countries combined, and equals nearly 4 percent of the annual production of the entire world


Number of children dying unnecessarily every year worldwide. Most of these deaths occur in developing countries — half in Africa. Of the 20 countries with the highest child mortality rates, 19 are in Africa, the only exception being Afghanistan.

Rates of child mortality in some countries are also increasing. While the global trend is for child mortality to decline, 16 countries, of which 14 are in Africa, have higher rates than in 1990. In nine countries, of which eight are in Africa, the child mortality rate is higher than that recorded over 20 years ago


Late in 2003 the United Nations reported that one billion people — approximately one third of the world’s urban dwellers and a sixth of all humanity, live in slums. And it predicted that within 30 years that figure would have doubled to two billion—a third of the current world population. There are at least 550 million slum dwellers in Asia, 187 million in Africa, 128 million in Latin America and the Caribbean and a further 54 million in the world’s 30 richest countries


The amount five of the countries hit by the tsunami owe in foreign debt, with annual repayments of $32 billion, many times more than the promised aid

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Sat 12 Feb 2005, 00:00 GMT
Issue No. 1938
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