Here’s a report saying that 1 in 3 Africans are now middle class. That’s a bold statement. Now I’m always in support of challenging the stereotypical image of African countries. That of hunger, disease, corruption , etc we all know the list. But I’m a realist and I don’t want to deny those conditions do exist because that would be highly irresponsible. We just need a more fair and balanced view of countries on the African continent.
Now this report is interesting. We have to be careful especially with the definition of middle class. Apparently for this report they used an absolute definition of middle class which those who spend between $2 and $20 dollars a day. Some would say this is actually quite low but if you compare with the average people survive on in Africa that isn’t the case. I’m living in Nigeria and I have noticed an increase in the ‘middle class’ (though I’ve never heard a Nigerian say they are middle class !) over the past 10 years. But I’ve also noticed what I feel is a widening gap between the extremely rich and poor which I know is a global trend at the moment.
I would agree that there’s a rise in the middle class but I don’t agree with the 1 in 3 figure. Well not for Nigeria anyway. I don’t have data behind me, it’s based on a gut feeling and my experience of what I see around me. I would love to say that 1 in 3 is the case but I just don’t think it is. However whether I agree entirely with the report or not , it’s good to see more positive indicators coming out of the continent. But there’s still a hell of a lot of work left to be done before we have a true middle class in Africa.