News / Africa

Study Shows Africa’s Middle Class on the Rise

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba (2L) sits between UN special rapportuer David Nabarro (L) and Kenyan PM Raila Odinga (2R) during the second day of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on May 5, 2011
Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba (2L) sits between UN special rapportuer David Nabarro (L) and Kenyan PM Raila Odinga (2R) during the second day of the World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on May 5, 2011
Nadia Samie

The study by the African Development Bank indicates one-third of Africa’s 900 million people have more to spend on domestic goods and describes that group as middle class.

However, the bank includes in the definition of middle class some 191 million Africans it describes as a floating class, who are able to spend between $2 and $4 per day per person. African Development Bank Chief Economist and Vice President, Professor Mthuli Ncube says this group is unstable and is vulnerable to slipping back into poverty.

"There is a lower part however that we’ve defined as the lower middle class, between $2-$4 per day. That $2 to $4 per day is vulnerable to shocks," said Ncube.

The actual group of middle class from the bank's study appears to be about 123 million people who spend between $4 and $20 per day and are stable economically. Ncube says this group is the engine that is driving future economic growth in Africa.

"The middle class is a source of economic dynamism first of all, they are the source of entrepreneurship, in the sense that they are able to open businesses, run businesses, mostly successfully, so it’s a source of sustainable economic growth and development," said Ncube.

In Ghana alone, possession of cars and motorcycles has increased by 81 percent since 2006. Speaking to VOA following a media briefing running parallel to the World Economic Forum for Africa being held in Cape Town, Ncube said that while there are a number of reasons behind the growth of this particular class of Africans, education has been a big catalyst.

"In the African continent the main channel into the middle class is education. It’s almost the most critical thing. Africans have been well educated over two generations and that has allowed people to move into the middle class," said Ncube.

Ncube says the other reason is governance. "Whenever there is enough of an enabling environment for the people to be involved in entrepreneurship, to run businesses, a middle class develops because it is allowing private wealth accumulation to take place," he said.

Ncube says the middle class has also fueled a rise in Africa’s per capita income and that they account for the majority of car and homeowners on the continent. They are consumers of information technology and mobile telephone services, and many send their children to private schools, colleges and other educational institutions in South Africa, Europe and the United States.

Tunisia, Gabon and Botswana have the largest middle class, while Liberia, Mozambique and Rwanda have the smallest. Ncube says it’s important for African governments to recognize that there is a growing middle class in their countries; and if it doesn’t yet exist, governments must help, create and embrace this class, as it is a source of sustainable economic development for the future.

You May Like

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid