The international agency, whose executive director Winnie Byanyima will co-chair the Davos event, said the explosion in inequality is holding back the fight against global poverty at a time when 1 in 9 people do not have enough to eat and more than a billion people still live on less than USD 1.25 a day.

According to the report by worldwide development organisation Oxfam, in 2014, 85 rich individuals held more wealth than the poorest half of the world's population - 3.5 billion people.

Now, a year later, that figure has become more extreme - 80 billionaires have the same amount of wealth as the bottom half of the planet.

"If this trend continues of an increasing wealth share to the richest, the top 1 per cent will have more wealth than the remaining 99 per cent of people in just two years," Oxfam said in a report.

In 2010, the richest 80 people in the world had a net wealth of USD 1.3 trillion. By 2014, the 80 people who top the Forbes rich list had a collective wealth of USD 1.9 trillion; an increase of USD 600 billion in just 4 years.

Meanwhile, between 2002 and 2010 the total wealth of the poorest half of the world in the current US dollar terms had been increasing more or less at the same rate as that of billionaires; however since 2010, it has been decreasing.

The wealth of these 80 individuals is now the same as that owned by the bottom 50 percent of the global population, such that 3.5 billion people share between them the same amount of wealth as that of these extremely wealthy 80 people, the report said.

"The scale of global inequality is quite simply staggering and despite the issues shooting up the global agenda, the gap between the richest and the rest is widening fast," Byanyima said, adding that it is time our leaders took on the powerful vested interests that stand in the way of a fairer and more prosperous world.

"Business as usual for the elite isn't a cost free option - failure to tackle inequality will set the fight against poverty back by decades. The poor are hurt twice by rising inequality - they get a smaller share of the economic pie and because extreme inequality hurts growth, there is less pie to be shared around."

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