World hunger 'could be eradicated'
Published 19/05/2013 | 03:31
World hunger could be eradicated if the revenues that developing countries lose through tax dodging were available to them to invest in agricultural development, says a report from charity Christian Aid.
Its report Who Pays the Price? Hunger: The Hidden Cost of Tax Injustice, says 50 billion US dollars (£33 billion) plus would be raised every year if governments ended tax haven secrecy and curtailed profit-shifting and tax dodging by multinationals in poor countries.
The report is published in the run-up to next month's G8 summit in Northern Ireland with the UK holding the presidency.
Christian Aid want Prime Minister David Cameron to use the summit to make tax justice a major weapon against poverty and hunger.
Report author Alex Prats said: "Malnutrition and related causes lead to the death of 2.3 million children every year. In the developing world it is the underlying cause of the deaths of 35% of all children under the age of five.
"At the Millennium Summit in 2000, and later in 2009 at the World Summit on Food Security, political leaders agreed to halve hunger by the year 2015.
"But despite the promises made, progress has been disappointing. In Africa, the number of hungry people has actually increased by 36% over the period 1990-2012 - from 175 to 239 million people.
"If developing countries were able to increase their tax revenues and make effective use of the financial resources available, poverty and hunger could be eradicated. One of the main reasons they can't is because of tax dodging."
The report looks at the impact of tax dodging on three countries in the developing world with economies strong enough to put them in the middle income bracket, but where malnutrition remains rife, says Christian Aid.
A survey of more than 1,500 multinationals in the three countries - India, Ghana and El Salvador - found that those with subsidiaries and/or shareholders in tax havens paid on average 28.9% less tax per unit of profit than those without such links. The findings follow earlier Christian Aid research suggesting that, globally, tax dodging costs poor countries some 160 billion US dollars (£105 billion) every year.