Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Africa's elusive middle class

A recent blogpost on 'Africa is a Country' stating that Africa has a middle class of 300 million people seems somewhat optimistic.  Digging a bit deeper solved the mystery. The source article from the Washington Post on Africa's new middle income consumerism, defined these 300 million as: 

"...a modestly growing segment of sub-Saharan Africa -- upwardly mobile, low- to middle-income consumers. The group includes working Africans who make as little as $200 a month, a paltry sum by Western standards, yet hardly the $1 or so a day in earnings that describe life for about half the continent's population. Perhaps a third of all Africans, or 300 million people, fall into a middle category -- people struggling to put their kids through school and pay rent, but able to buy a cellphone or DVD once in a while."

According to an earlier article in the Wall Street Journal, posted on Yale Global Online:
The World Bank estimates the sub-Saharan middle class will be 43 million strong by 2030, up from 12.8 million in 2000. Though the bulk of the continent's middle-class consumers are in South Africa, growing markets in such countries as Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana are attracting attention from investors around the world.

$200 per month is poverty - even in Africa.  

1 comment:

Sean said...

Perhaps I should have provided some commentary to show how ridiculous the reporter's optimism was. And that she measured development in terms of blackberry's, cellphones, DVDs., etc. But sometime I want to let the ridiculousness stand for itself. Thanks for the riposte.