World Bank says global wealth grows while inequality persists

Updated 2018-01-31 11:10:05 Xinhua

Global wealth grew significantly over the past two decades while wealth inequality persists, a latest report released by the World Bank showed on Tuesday.

Global wealth, which includes produced capital, natural capital, human capital, and net foreign assets, grew 66 percent from 1995 to reach 1,143 trillion U.S. dollars in 2014, the World Bank said in the report The Changing Wealth of Nations 2018.

It found that the concentration of wealth among high-income countries reduced significantly between 1995 and 2014. Wealth is starting to be spread among a larger set of countries in the middle and at the top, but low-income countries are still lagging behind, said the report

It noted that middle-income countries are catching up in large part because of rapid growth in Asia.

A majority of countries witnessed increases in per capita wealth in the period from 1995 to 2014, with the fastest growth in middle-income countries.

The report attributed the convergence in wealth to the accumulation of human capital, which has benefited from massive investments to improve education and health outcomes.

However, inequality remained substantial during the period, as per capita wealth in high-income countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) was 52 times greater than in low-income countries, the report found.

A decline in per capita wealth was seen in some large low-income countries, carbon-rich countries in the Middle East, as well as a few high-income OECD countries which were affected by the 2008 global financial crisis.

"By building and fostering human and natural capital, countries around the world can bolster wealth and grow stronger," said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in a statement Tuesday.

"There cannot be sustained and reliable development if we don't consider human capital as the largest component of the wealth of nations," said Kim.

The report tracks the wealth of 141 countries between 1995 and 2014 by aggregating natural capital, human capital, produced capital and net foreign assets.

According to the World Bank, human capital was the largest component of the wealth overall while natural capital made up nearly half of wealth in low-income countries.

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