Oxfam Warns of Effects of Euro Break-up On Poorest Countries
Oxfam has warned about the catastrophe that a potential break-up of the euro zone could spell for the world's poorest countries, with as much as €25 billion a year being lost in trade and investment (which represents almost a quarter of all annual global aid).
Oxfam issued its stark warning against a backdrop of growing concern about the health of the euro zone, with Spain just the latest country to now be facing the prospect of needing a full-scale bailout for its economy. Meanwhile, the G20 countries are due to gather in Mexico next week and it is expect that the euro zone crisis will dominate there too.
"Our leaders must take much bolder steps towards delivering a fairer, safer and more prosperous world for all"
Oxfam is eager to ensure that the world's poorest countries are not forgotten during the discussions that take place during the summit. Referring to a recent United Nations appeal for international support to help the as many as 18 million people threatened by food shortages in west Africa, Oxfam's Chief Executive, Barbara Stocking, urged G20 countries to pay their "fair share" towards the $490 million still required.
Oxfam has further calculated that the collape of the euro single currency, and the resulting drop in the incomes of individual EU nations', would cost the world's poorest countries up to €15 billion over the next 12 months in lost revenue from European exports, along with a further €7.9 billion in lost investment.
The charity warns that, without additional action, this could well lock many poor countries into a "vicious spiral" of reduced export earnings, which in turn would have a detrimental knock-on effect on essential services like health and education.
Ms Stocking, who will be attending the G20 summit as a member of a food taskforce, said that, "The euro crisis doesn't just threaten livelihoods from Athens to Madrid. It is a clear and present danger to people in low-income countries who are struggling with grinding poverty and already feeling the effects of significant cuts in aid.
“G20 leaders have an obligation to find a solution to this crisis, not just on behalf of their own citizens but to protect all those that have exhausted their means to protect themselves.”
Oxfam has urged the G20 to implement an immediate 5-point plan to reform the food system: clamp down on tax evasion; implement a 'Robin Hood Tax' (to fund aid needs); tackle inequality; and support investment in education and health.
Ms Stocking said, "Our leaders must take much bolder steps towards delivering a fairer, safer and more prosperous world for all and addressing the issues that mean one in seven of the world’s population don’t have enough to eat.
“The big question is whether the G20 has the political will to step up and deliver.”