Africa’s Future: Its Middle Class

A half-century removed from the collapse of colonialism, an emerging middle class is driving economic growth and give crucial support to democracy and political stability in Africa.

Rarely portrayed in Western news reports, Africa’s middle class is small but will grow to reach 43 million by 2030 according to World Bank estimates.

“Africa’s middle class is the great economic engine that will drive development across the continent,” said Vijay Mahajan, whose book, Africa Rising, describes the social phenomenon. “The growth of Africa’s middle class greatly accelerated after the independence of African nations in the 1960s.”

Africa’s middle class is strongest in countries that have robust and growing private sectors. “Countries in East and Southern Africa that sustain a viable middle class and that hold governments accountable include countries like Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia. Mozambique’s middle class is small but growing in size and importance,” said Vijaya Ramachandran, senior fellow at the Center for Global Development and author of Africa’s Private Sector. “In West Africa, Ghana’s middle class is doing well.”

“There is very little about Africa’s middle class that has been written since the 1960s. And there is very little in the way of statistics,” said Martha Saavedra, associate director of the Center for African Studies, at UC Berkeley. “Accounts in the news media just portray the mass of poverty in Africa…clearly there is more to Africa, and a big part of that is the middle class.”

Linked below is GlobalPost’s introduction and index to it’s continuing series on the Africans that are rarely portrayed by Western media outlets.

via GlobalPost

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