Press Releases

Reacting to EU Energy Windfall Tax

EU Energy Windfall Tax: Ireland must aim for 50 – 90 per cent rate and not let other profiteering industries off the hook

30 September 2022 

Today, European energy ministers agreed on a package of emergency measures to curb the surge in energy prices. The package includes two measures to capture extraordinary profits from energy and fossil fuel companies. This follows the European Commission’s proposal on 14th of September.   

In response, Michael McCarthy Flynn, Head of Policy and Advocacy at Oxfam Ireland, said:

“It is great news that European countries have, for the first time ever, agreed to capture some of the extreme excess profits of companies. But now they need to be far more ambitious. This means taxing all sectors profiteering off the global crises at a higher tax rate of between 50 and 90 percent and removing the end date of 2022.

“If Ireland fails to be ambitious, they will only get the crumbs of the colossal corporate profits. Some European countries are already leading the way, for example, Greece with a rate of 90 percent and Spain which is planning to capture excess profits made by banks. Remember, the rate for the last major Windfall Tax introduced in Ireland on windfall gains from rezoning was set at 80% in 2010.

“Rising energy prices have seen profits surge in energy companies but they are not alone in earning “windfall profits”. Looking at the nine Irish companies from the agri-food industry and tech sectors listed on Forbes 2000 list, these companies alone earned excess profits of €2 billion last year. In fact, these Irish company profits before the Ukrainian crisis in 2021 were on average 45% higher than in the years from 2017-2020.

“In the long-term, work must be done at the global level to implement permanent windfall taxes that capture all excess profits and redistribute the revenues fairly throughout the world. This is the way to fight inflation and inequality.”

Contact: Alice Dawson Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

Note to the editors:

  • Oxfam experts are available for interview or comment.  
  • Today, European Energy Ministers agreed on a package of emergency measures to curb the rise in energy prices. This follows the European Commission’s proposal on 14 September. The final package includes:  
    • A “temporary solidarity contribution” on fossil fuel companies to recoup one-third (33 percent) of excess profits made in 2022 and/or 2023. Excess profit is defined as profit exceeding the average of the last four years (2018 – 2021) by 20 percent. This is a threshold rate and EU countries can apply a higher rate. Revenue will be funnelled to consumers and companies to cushion the impact of high energy bills, and to invest in green energy.  
    • A price cap on revenue made by non-gas energy companies (wind, solar, nuclear, etc): The cap will be set at 180 euros per megawatt hour and the price difference will be recycled back to consumers and decarbonisation technologies, like renewable energy.    
  • Countries have until 31 December 2022 to implement the measures if they do not already have an equivalent measure in place.  
  • Oxfam recently published a new media briefing, The Case for Windfall Taxes. It includes new data on how much excess profits companies have made and how much revenue a global windfall tax could recoup.
    • 1000 of the world’s biggest companies have recorded excess profits of 1.15 trillion dollars in 2020 and 2021 compared to the pre-pandemic period – an increase of 68.5 percent.  
    • We could raise more than 1000 billion dollars globally with a tax of 90 percent on the windfall profit of 1000 of the world’s biggest companies. 
  • Many European countries have already introduced or are in the process of introducing a windfall tax – for a full list, see the table in Oxfam’s recent media briefing, The Case for Windfall Taxes. Oxfam recommends countries implement their own measures if they are more ambitious than the EU proposal. 
  • Oxfam calls for a windfall tax that:  
    • is ambitious, sector-wide, and automatic; 
    • has a rate between 50 – 90 percent (if the tax base is calculated only on excess profit and exceeds 10 percent of the average of the previous years); 
    • prevents an increase in consumer costs by stopping companies from passing on the costs to consumers; 
    • redistributes revenues to those most affected by the crisis, both at home and abroad; 
    • uses a tax base that captures the most excess profit and takes into account the real economic activity of a company in a country. A 2020 analysis showed that some EU countries would capture more excess profit by designing a tax base that takes into account the real economic activity of the company rather than profit. 
  • The IMF recently suggested a permanent coordinated windfall tax (a) targeting economic rents (defined by the IMF as returns in excess of the opportunity cost of the investment – this means an amount of money earned that exceeds that which is economically necessary) and (b) based on the globally consolidated profit of multinationals (global profit of the entire group) allocated to countries according to sales.   
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Reacting to Budget 2023

Reacting to Budget 2023, Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland CEO, said:

“We welcome the increase of €177 million for Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) announced today. In delivering a cost-of-living budget and responding to challenges at a national level, it is vital we do not forget those who will be hit hardest by this global crisis and we are pleased to see such commitment in Budget 2023, as well as increased humanitarian aid for the Horn of Africa.

“While we welcome the increase, we are also acutely aware of the urgent need to reach our long-standing commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income on ODA by 2030, as well as to provide our fair share of climate finance. A deadly combination of climate, conflict and Covid-19, compounded by a global food crisis fuelled by the war in Ukraine, means the world’s poorest and most vulnerable can’t wait almost a decade for us to deliver on our obligations.

“Our research estimates that one person is dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged East Africa. And across 10 climate-hotspot countries, collectively responsible for 0.13 percent of global emissions, 48 million people are suffering acute hunger with 18 million of those on the brink of starvation.

“Against this backdrop, we cannot have a budget that isn’t strong enough on our commitments on climate finance, which must be scaled up and met outside of our existing obligations on ODA.

“A transformed tax system could provide vital budget contributions in Ireland, helping to address the cost-of-living crisis nationally as well as meeting life-saving commitments globally.

“We welcome the Government’s statement that it’s not fair for companies to earn excess profits from a volatile market. We also welcome their aim to be part of the EU-wide response to capture the windfall gains of energy companies.

“However, we believe this response should extend to all industries, not just the energy sector. The pandemic was a billionaire’s bonanza across big business – in the food industry alone, the last two years saw 62 new billionaires. Meanwhile decades of progress on ending extreme poverty were reversed and millions of people now face hunger and destitution, with women and girls impacted most negatively.

“The Government has missed an opportunity to bring a new complexion to our tax system through progressive wealth and broad windfall taxes, that would combat inequality and help fund the rapid sustainable transformation of our economy to help avert climate catastrophe.

“We proposed a transformative vision for Budget 2023 in which Ireland would take the lead on the international stage by advocating for foreign debt cancellation and reallocating its IMF allocation of €4.69 billion – known as ‘Special Drawing Rights’- to those countries in Africa and Asia facing hunger and climate breakdown. While neither were mentioned in today’s budget, Ireland will still have the opportunity to show leadership on these issues when the IMF and World Bank meet in Washington next month.”

To read Oxfam Ireland’s pre- budget submission see here.

ENDS

CONTACT: Alice Dawson Lyons | alice.dawsonlyons@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 83 198 1869

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Climate Finance in West Africa

Rich countries' aid to West Africa to cope with climate change is insufficient and dangerously worsening debt levels

Rich countries and multilateral donors have so far mobilised only 7% of the estimated $198.88 billion that West African countries need by 2030 to cope with the climate crisis and pursue their own green development.

According to a new Oxfam study today, Climate Finance in West Africa, 62% of $11.7 billion declared by donors between 2013 and 2019 have been mostly in the form of loans, which will have to be repaid, many with interest, aggravating the debt crisis in most West African countries.

Climate finance is a highly-contentious issue that again threatens the success of the crucial UNFCCC climate talks in Egypt this November. Oxfam and a hundred African civil society organisations are concerned that African countries will come to the summit with little confidence that donors will honour their repeated promises to mobilise 100 billion a year for climate action in developing countries (a target that has been missed by $16.7 billion in 2020).

These organisations are calling on rich countries -historically responsible for climate change -to assume their fair share to help the region face the escalating climate crises that have hit the African continent.

The report warns that rich countries are increasingly using loans to help West African countries cope with climate change. Between 2013 and 2019 loans have increased by 610% from $243 million to $1.72 billion. By comparison, grants have only increased by 79%. Among the donors that have made the most use of loans as a proportion of their total climate financing are the World Bank (94%), France (94%), Japan (84%), the African Development Bank (AfDB) (83%) and the European Investment Bank (EIB) (79%).

"At a time when West Africa is reeling from multiple crises including climate, hunger, and security, these financial flows are grossly inadequate and not what was promised. Many of these are now loans that actually reduce countries’ capacity to cope. Most countries are falling into a spiral of debt and poverty, which runs counter to the spirit of climate justice. The consequences are disastrous for millions of people who are paying the price for the impacts of climate change yet not responsible for it," said Assalama Dawalack Sidi, Oxfam's Regional Director for West and Central Africa.

The consequences of debt and the capacity of countries to provide basic services to populations facing multiple crises are very real. For example:

  • Although Niger (7th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change), Mali (13th most vulnerable), and Burkina Faso (24th most vulnerable) all face a risk of debt distress, they have received a sizable share of climate finance in the form of loans and debt: 51%, 43%, and 41%, respectively. These countries are already being pushed into a new wave of austerity measures by the IMF and are planning combined budget cuts of $7.2 billion by 2026 which will further limit their ability to invest in quality public services and protection for their citizens.

 

  • Ghana currently receives 40% of its climate finance in the form of loans and debt, despite already being at high risk of debt distress. In 2019, Ghana was spending 55 times more on debt servicing than on agriculture. It is planning a $23.3 billion budget cut by 2026.

 

Oxfam believes that funding in West Africa should focus on adaptation measures, rather than mitigation given the region is a very low contributor to global greenhouse gas emissions. However, there is an 82% gap between the adaptation funding reported in 2019 and the needs expressed by West African countries.

Chad, the world's most vulnerable and least prepared country for climate change, has the largest funding gap for adaptation with 95% of its financial needs not covered ($1.49billion of $1.57billion per year)by 2030.

These findings are all the more alarming given that hunger is increasing at an unprecedented rate in the region, in part driven by droughts that are becoming more frequent and severe as rainfall becomes more erratic and unpredictable. There has been a 154% increase in the number of people now food insecure between March-May 2022 compared to the five-year average between 2017-2021.

"We demand that all donors urgently increase their climate financing and honour their promises. These funds must be disbursed as grants not loans and must respond to the priorities and adaptation needs of recipient countries and their communities," said Sidi.

The report's recommendations support the recent joint statement by two dozen African leaders meeting earlier this month at a forum in Cairo, where they urged the richest countries to uphold their aid pledges so the continent can tackle the effects of climate change for which it shares little blame.

The report is being published ahead of citizen caravans organised by about 100 African civil society organisations, including Oxfam, that will travel across 23 countries on the continent to Egypt. The caravans will mobilise communities and policymakers along the way to highlight the harm that climate change is causing to Africa and demand more justice in climate finance.

"As Africa heats up, African communities’ temperature is rising too. Today, people are uniting to demand more climate justice. The international community, and rich donors, in particular, must urgently hear their cries," said Sidi.

END/

 

Notes to the editors

  • Download the report Climate Finance in West Africa: Assessing the State of Climate Finance in One of the World's Regions Worst Hit by the Climate Crisis.The eight West African countries analyzed are Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Ghana and Nigeria.
  • The levels of climate finance reported by global donors in 2019 ($2.5 billion) represent only 12.7% of the average annual financial needs for external climate finance expressed by West African countries in their nationally determined contributions (NDCs) (covering the period 2021-2030). However, when considering Climate-specific net assistance (CSNA), current public funding that can be considered relevant for climate action would fall to 7.1% of average annual needs between 2021 and 2030, representing an alarming climate finance gap of 92.9%. The CSNA is a method of calculating climate finance developed by Oxfam, designed to be more equitable than the tools currently used by donors. The CSNA estimate includes 100% grants and grant equivalent of loans, guarantees and other debt instruments.
  • Oxfam's estimate of net climate-specific aid is based on climate-related development finance as documented by the OECD.
  • See the Aggregate trends of climate finance provided and mobilized by developed countries in 2013-2020 against the 100 billion annual targets, OECD, 2022
  • Follow the caravans for the climate in Africa that will crisscross 23 African countries (Senegal, Benin, Niger, Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Burkina Faso, Chad, Kenya, Uganda, Ethiopia, Ivory Coast, DRC, Gambia, Guinea, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, South Africa, South Sudan, Togo, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Somalia) and will converge in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt, at the time of the world climate conference (COP 27) from November 7 to 18, 2022. These caravans are a catalyst for the demands of African populations -especially youth and women-on climate finance (loss and damage, adaptation, and mitigation). They are organised by civil society organisations such as Young Volunteers for the Environment (YVE), CIDSE -International family of Catholic social justice organisations and a hundred others, with the support of Oxfam.
  • According to Government Spending Watch, in Ghana in 2019, the total public debt service (external and domestic) reached 75 percent of government revenue, with domestic debt accounting for two-thirds.
  • The Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative(ND-GAIN) index assesses a country's vulnerability to climate disruption and its ability to mobilise investment. Chad is ranked 182nd out of 182 countries.
  • While some loans are concessional, Oxfam is even more concerned by the high prevalence of non-concessional finance among some donors, especially the AfDB ($454m; 43% of its total), United States ($308m; 39% of total), the GCF ($229m; 73% of total), France ($167m; 13% of total), and the EIB ($137m; 68% of total).
  • The newly released report by World Bank Country Climate and Development Report (CCDR) for the G5 Sahel region estimates that up to 13.5 million people across the Sahel could fall into poverty due to climate change-related shocks by 2050 if urgent climate adaptation measures are not taken.
  • 14 out of 16 West African countries plan to reduce their national budgets by a total of $69.8 billion between 2022 and 2026 due to pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through its COVID-19 loans, based on the World Economic Outlook Database of the IMF and Oxfam’s analysis Adding Fuel to Fire: how IMF’s demands for austerity will drive up inequality worldwide.
  • According to calculations based on World Bank databases, an individual living in West Africa emits only 0.43 tons of CO2 per year. In comparison, a U.S. citizen emits 15.2 tons, with the global average being 4.5 tons.
  • Oxfam’s report HUNGER IN A HEATING WORLD: How the climate crisis is fuelling hunger in an already hungry world shows that climate change is deepening hunger in 10 of the world's worst climate hotspots, including Burkina Faso and Niger. For food security projections, see the Food Security and Nutrition Working Group (FSNWG) estimates.
  • African nations meeting in Cairo from 7 to 9 September call for climate change funding ahead of COP27.

 

Contact

Clare Cronin | clare.cronin@oxfam.org | +353 (0) 87 195 2551
 

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Extreme hunger has more than doubled in 10 of the world’s worst climate hotspots over past six years

18 million people are on the brink of starvation

Ten of the world’s worst climate hotspots have suffered a 123% rise in acute hunger over the past six years, according to an Oxfam report published today. The hotspots are those with the highest number of UN appeals driven by extreme weather events such as droughts, cyclones, and floods – which have increased five-fold over the past 50 years.

The brief – Hunger in a heating world – found that the 10 climate hotspots – Somalia, Haiti, Djibouti, Kenya, Niger, Afghanistan, Guatemala, Madagascar, Burkina Faso, and Zimbabwe – have repeatedly been battered by extreme weather over the last two decades. Today, 48 million people across those countries suffer acute hunger (up from 21 million in 2016), and 18 million of those people are on the brink of starvation.

Jim Clarken, Oxfam Ireland Chief Executive Officer, said: “We were just visiting our programmes in northern Kenya, one of the 10 hotspots highlighted in the brief. There, development work has helped build resilient communities that have managed to keep going through four failed rainy seasons. In 2011 in Somalia, just two failed rains caused widespread famine that claimed the lives of nearly 260,000 people. Across Kenya and the wider region, famine is a step away. We estimate that one person is dying from hunger every 48 seconds across drought-ravaged East Africa.”

Climate-fuelled hunger is a stark demonstration of global inequality. Countries that are least responsible for the climate crisis are suffering most from its impact and are also the least resourced to cope with it. Collectively responsible for just 0.13 percent of global carbon emissions, the 10 climate hotspots sit in the bottom third of countries least ready for climate change.

In contrast, polluting industrialised nations such as those of the G20 – which control 80 percent of the world’s economy – are together responsible for over three-quarters of the world’s carbon emissions.

Clarken continued: “Extreme crisis necessitates extreme measures – and right now, millions of people are facing starvation in a world of plenty. We cannot fix the climate crisis without fixing the systemic inequalities in our food and energy systems. One of our key proposals around this is a wealth tax and broad windfall tax which could yield billions in revenue to tackle crises at home and uphold commitments overseas, including on climate finance.

“Those worried about the viability of the business sector should understand that windfall profits are separate to everyday profits. They are lottery type wins paid for by ordinary people in Ireland, Kenya and all over the world. We see taxing them as an essential part of restoring social order and justice.”

Important policy changes are equally needed to address the double crisis of climate and hunger. Unless massive and immediate action is taken, hunger will continue to spiral. 

“Ahead of UN General Assembly meetings this week, and COP 27 in November, world leaders, including Ireland’s, must live up to their promises to cut emissions. They must pay for adaptation measures and loss-and-damage in low-income countries, as well as immediately inject lifesaving funds to meet the UN appeal to respond to the most impacted countries.

“We welcome Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid Colm Brophy’s recent visit to Kenya to raise awareness about the devastating climate-induced crisis there as well as the increase in Irish Aid funding to the region. We continue to urge the Irish Government to show leadership and call for immediate and substantive funding to meet the grossly under-funded UN humanitarian food security appeals,” said Clarken.  

Download Oxfam Ireland’s report Hunger in a Heating World.

ENDS

CONTACT:

Notes to the editors

  • Somalia is facing its worst drought on record, and famine is expected to unfold in two of its districts: Baidoa and Burhakaba. One million people have been forced to flee their homes due to the drought. The country ranks 172nd out of 182 countries in terms of its readiness to cope with climate change.
  • In Kenya, the current drought has killed nearly 2.5 million livestock and left 2.4 million people hungry, including hundreds of thousands of children severely malnourished.
  • In Niger, 2.6 million people are facing acute hunger today (up 767 percent from 2016). Cereal production has crashed by nearly 40 percent, as frequent climatic shocks on top of ongoing conflict have made harvesting increasingly difficult. Production of staple foods such as millet and sorghum could plummet even further by 25 percent if global warming surpasses 2°C.
  • Burkina Faso has seen a staggering 1350 percent rise in hunger since 2016, with more than 3.4 million people in extreme hunger as of June 2022 due to armed conflict and worsening desertification of crop and pastoral lands. Global warming above 2°C would likely decrease cereal yields like millet and sorghum by 15–25%. 
  • In Guatemala, a severe drought has contributed to the loss of close to 80 percent of the maize harvest and devastated coffee plantations.
  • In Oxfam Ireland’s pre-budget submission to the Government, they point out that: “The Programme for Government pledges to increase Ireland’s official aid budget to 0.7 percent of  national income in line with international commitments by 2030. In 2022, despite a monetary increase in the ODA budget of €176m on the 2021 allocation, Ireland’s spending on ODA remained at 0.32% of GNI.”
  • It is estimated that Ireland’s fair share of climate finance allocations under the UNFCC would be between €340m to €840m per year taking past emissions and wealth into account” based on calculations by the Overseas Development Institute which state that Ireland is only paying 25%-50% of its fair share. Therefore, Oxfam Ireland agrees that Ireland needs to deliver and move beyond its target of €225m per annum of climate finance as a matter of urgency.
  • Oxfam will be inviting people to sign on the Loss and Damage open letter from Climate activist Elizabeth Wathuti, which will be handed in to the COP presidency during COP 27 in November.
  • The FSIN began producing the Global Reports on Food Crises in017. Sum of the population in IPC3+ food insecurity in the ten countries in 2016 (See GRFC 2017, p. 21) was 21.3 million and in 2021 (See GRFC 2022, pp. 30 – 33) was 47.5. The percent rise is therefore 123%.
  • The calculations of those facing starvation in the 10 countries is based on the total number of people at IPC 4 level of food insecurity and above in 2021, according to the GRFC 2022, see Understanding IPC classification.
  • The 10 worst climate hotspots were calculated looking at countries with the highest number of extreme weather-related UN appeals since 2000, where climate was classified as a “major contributor” to these appeals.   Source: Oxfam’s “Footing the Bill” report May 2022.
  • The 10 countries had the highest number of appeals linked to extreme weather, where climate was a major contributor to the appeal, according to the methodology outlined in the Oxfam (2022) Technical Note UN Humanitarian Appeals linked to Extreme Weather, 2000-2021.
  • The figure on fivefold increase in climate disasters is according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Atlas of Mortality and Economic Losses from Weather, Climate and Water Extremes (1970–2019) (WMO-No. 1267), Geneva.
  • The sum of cumulative carbon emissions of the 10 climate hotspots for 2020 is 0.002 trillion tons of carbon – that is 0.13% of the world emissions (1.69 trillion tons of carbon) in same year. Source Our World in Data.
  • The sum of cumulative carbon emissions of the G20 countries for 2020 is 1.299570755 trillion tons of carbon, which is 76.60% of global carbon emissions (1.696524177 trillion tons). Source Our World in Data.
  • The rank of 10 climate hotspots is 34% according to calculations of percentiles of the Notre Dame Global Adaptation Initiative (ND-GAIN) index scores of the 10 climate hotspots. ND-GAIN scores for 2020 retrieved from the ND-GAIN website.
  • For the fossil fuel industry’s daily average of $2.8 billion in profits over the last 50 years, which is also an annual average of $1.022 trillion, we used this 2022 article from the Guardian: Revealed: oil sector’s ‘staggering’ $3bn-a-day profits for last 50 years. Based on the daily average, we calculated that less than 18 days of company profits would cover the full UN global humanitarian appeal for 2022 of $48.82 billion. We used the annual average of $1 trillion to calculate the returns from an extra 1% tax on fossil fuel profits ($10 billion).  The Guardian (2022). Revealed: oil sector’s ‘staggering’ $3bn-a-day profits for last 50 years.
  • UN humanitarian appeal for 2022 is found at https://fts.unocha.org/appeals/overview/2022, last visited 30 August 2022. The food security portion of the appeal is $15.9 billion, of which $10.4 billion is unfunded as of 8 September 2022.

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Busting Myths on Global Hunger - Hew Oxfam Briefing, Fixing Our Food

One Step Away from Famine and Plentiful Food

Have you ever picked up a packet of nice fresh green beans from Kenya as part of your weekly shop?

On a recent trip to Kenya, Oxfam Ireland staff Niamh Carty and Clare Cronin drove past the miles of polytunnels where green beans, among other things, are grown on huge industrial farms. We shared the road with trucks ferrying this produce to Nairobi Airport from where it is then flown to Europe.

Just 60 kilometres away in the north of Kenya, people are facing extreme hunger as a result of drought. In fact, one person is estimated to be dying of hunger every 48 seconds in drought-ravaged Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, as the Horn of Africa faces into a possible fifth failed rainy season.

Oxfam’s Fixing our Food briefing calls out the myth that there is a world shortage of food.

Hunger is rising all over the world as food production increases and profits in the food industry soar. 64 new food billionaires have been created since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Oxfam is calling for a radical re-think of our unequal global food system and their new briefing paper de-bunks 10 common myths on what drives global hunger.

Given Ireland’s history of famine, the juxtaposition of food exports with hunger was especially resonant. Niamh Carty, Oxfam Ireland’s Director of International Programme, noted: “We spent days in Northern Kenya witnessing people suffering food shortages and extreme hunger, in drought-ravaged communities where the ground is scorched and arid. On the drive back to Nairobi, that changed very suddenly. We saw acres and acres of polytunnels, boasting vibrant green, part of an industrial agriculture system that feeds us here in Europe – and not the hungry people just 60 kilometres away. Our global food system is broken, and the poorest and most vulnerable are paying the price.”

Download Fixing Our Food: Debunking 10 myths about the global food system and what drives hunger here.

CASE STUDY – John

One such person is John (Ekamais Erinyok ) who lives in the village of Narengewoi in Turkana County, Kenya.

Oxfam in Kenya’s Humanitarian Strategist, Everlyne Situma, sets the scene in this region where rains have been erratic for at least the past eight years: “You notice the emaciation of people, how they have really wasted away, no muscle left just bone. Year by year they have lost or had to sell the livestock they depend on and now they have nothing.”

Oxfam Ireland is working with partners in the region to provide direct cash transfers to families in need in their home communities. 75% of the estimated 877 households in Narengewoi village are supported.

When we visited John, he had just got his last monthly payment of 8,698 Kenyan Shillings. That is €72.98 for John, his wife and eight children for one month. Food inflation is rampant in Kenya, and we asked John to show us what sort of food that allows for.

The family have one meal a day consisting of one kilo of maze and one kilo of beans. John explains that many displaced people have now moved to Narengewoi to be near a place with a cash transfer system. The local custom is to share whatever food is available so that further reduces what any supported family has to eat.

In terms of food inflation, the cost of the staple, maize has gone from 90 Kenyan Shillings a kilo some months ago to 230 Kenyan Shillings a kilo now*.

Oxfam is working with our local partners to increase payments in line with inflation where possible.

Narengewoi has four tiny shops, and the cash transfer system was described as “an amazing [and] sophisticated system” by Irish Minister of State for Overseas Development Assistance, Colm Brophy on a recent visit to Kenya and the village.

ENDS

CONTACT:

Notes to the Editor:

  • *We do not have a definite timeframe for this increase
  • Photos and video footage of John / from Narengewoi Village, Turkana County available upon request
  • Oxfam Ireland’s Pre-budget Submission calls for a wealth tax and broad windfall tax which could yield millions to tackle the cost of living crisis at home and uphold Ireland’s commitments internatyioanlly, including on Overseas Development Assistance and climate finance
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