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Market Brief - The Middle of the Pyramid: Dynamics of the Middle Class in Africa


• Strong economic growth in the past two decades has helped reduce poverty in Africa and increased the size of the middle class.

• By 2010, the middle class had risen to 34% of Africa’s population2—or nearly 350 million people—up from about 126 million or 27% in 1980, 27% in 1990 and about 220 million people or 27% in 2000. This represents a growth rate of 3.1% in the middle class population over the period 1980 to 2010, compared with a growth rate of 2.6% in the continent’s overall population over the same period.

• About 60% of Africa’s middle class, approximately 180 million people, remain barely out of the poor category. They are in a vulnerable position and face the constant possibility of dropping back into the poor category in the event of any exogenous shocks.

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