GLOBAL targets for the eradication of hunger could be met by
cracking down on tax-dodging by multinational companies in the
developing world, Christian Aid has said.
In a report published for Christian Aid Week, the charity says
that tackling corporate tax-dodging could provide the £32 billion a
year that is needed to achieve a world free from hunger. It calls
for a new international convention on tax transparency, and urges
the Government, which is chairing the G8 this year, to use its
influence to address the problem.
Progress towards halving the number of people who go hungry by
2015 was one of the Millennium Development Goals, but progress has
been slow, and the number of people suffering from hunger in
sub-Saharan Africa has increased by 36 per cent.
Christian Aid has studied multinational companies that operate
in three countries: India, Ghana, and El Salvador. It says that
companies with subsidiaries or shareholders in tax havens pay, on
average, 28.9 per cent less tax per unit of profit than those
without such links. In India, the figure rises to 30.3 per
The most secretive tax haven of all is Switzerland, the report
says: "Analysis of trade data shows that developing countries could
have lost as much as US$578 billion (£368 bn), between 2007 and
2010, from multi-national companies trading with or via
Switzerland. This is far more than the annual estimated US$50.2
billion (£32 bn) cited in a 2012 UN Food and Agriculture
Organization report that would be needed to create a world free
from hunger by 2025."
Christian Aid Week is the longest-running door-to-door
fund-raising initiative in the UK. This year, donations will
support particularly the fight against hunger.
The Bishop of Swansea & Brecon, the Rt Revd John Davies, is
one of Christian Aid's trustees. "'What shall I have to eat?' is a
question most of us will ask at some point each day," he said this
week, "and, for most of us, the options are pretty varied. But
hunger is the biggest health-risk in the world today. It kills more
people worldwide than AIDS, malaria, and TB combined. This is a
A coalition of Christian charities, Exposed, is campaigning to
make global businesses reveal the taxes they pay in different
countries, in an effort to reduce tax-avoidance. Led by the Revd
Joel Edwards, Exposed is trying to get one million signatures on a
petition to hand to the heads of the world's leading economies next
Mr Edwards said last week: "Deliberate tax-evasion is a form of
corruption, because it results in money lost to an economy -
resources which could and should be used to share the load of
people living in dire poverty."