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UN chief: World’s 26 richest people own half world’s wealth

New York (QNN)- United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said that the world’s 26 richest billionaires own half the world’s wealth and the world is ‘at the breaking point’ with vast inequality.

Delivering the annual Nelson Mandela lecture online on Saturday, Guterres said the pandemic “has been likened to an X-ray, revealing fractures in the fragile skeleton of the societies we have built”.

“It is exposing fallacies and falsehoods everywhere: The lie that free markets can deliver healthcare for all; the fiction that unpaid care work is not work; the delusion that we live in a post-racist world; the myth that we are all in the same boat,” the UN chief said.

Guterres also took aim at vast inequality noting the 26 richest people in the world hold as much wealth as half the global population.

Outlining the main drivers of inequality, he mentioned systemic racism, the legacy of colonialism, patriarchy, gaps in access to technology, and inequalities in global governance.

“But income, pay and wealth are not the only measures of inequality”, he added. “People‚Äôs chances in life depend on their gender, family and ethnic background, race, whether or not they have a disability, and other factors.”

“The nations that came out on top 70 years ago have refused to contemplate the reforms needed to change power relations in international institutions,” Guterres said in his blunt speech, pointing to the voting rights in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), where the United Kingdom, China, France, Russia and the United States have veto powers.

Guterres said the response to the pandemic “must be based on a new social contract and a new global deal that create equal opportunities for all and respect the rights and freedoms of all”.

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