South Africa is the most unequal country in the world. This is according to a new report by the World Bank that listed 149 countries.
The report analysed South Africa’s post-apartheid progress‚ focusing on the period between 2006 and 2015.
The report found the top 1% of South Africans own 70.9% of the country’s wealth while the bottom 60% only controls 7% of the country’s assets.
Neighbours Namibia and Botswana were second and third.
Zambia‚ Central African Republic‚ Lesotho‚ Swaziland‚ Brazil‚ Colombia and Panama completed the top 10.
More than half of South Africans (55.5%) or 30-million people live below the national poverty line of R992 per month. This number increased since 2011.
The groups worst affected by poverty are black South Africans‚ the unemployed‚ the less educated‚ female-headed households‚ large families and children.
The official unemployment rate was 27.7% in the third quarter of 2017 while youth unemployment was 38.6%.
The report found poverty has a “strong spatial dimension” which demonstrates the enduring legacy of apartheid.
“Poverty remains concentrated in previously disadvantaged areas‚ such as the former homelands.”
Former head of the African Union Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said in the report that inequality remains “stubbornly high”.
“South Africa as one of the most unequal countries in the world‚ with consumption inequality having increased since 1994. Wealth inequality is high and has been rising over time. A polarised labour market results in high wage inequality.”
World Bank South African director Paul Noumba Um said: “South Africa has a dual economy where on the one hand is a small high-skilled‚ high-productivity economy and on the other hand‚ a large low-skilled‚ low-productivity one.”
World Bank southern Africa economist Victor Sulla told NPR: “The people at the bottom in South Africa‚ they get wages comparable to the people who live in Bangladesh. It’s very‚ very poor.”
He added: “If you take the top 10%‚ they live like in Austria. So it’s a very high level even by European standards or even by U.S. standards. And we are talking just about employees‚ people who are getting paid. And not the super-rich who are earning income from factories or property or other investments.”