Tuesday, December 27, 2011


The African Development Bank defines the African middle class as people who spend the equivalent of $2-$20 (£1.30-£13) a day. It acknowledged that many living on $2-$4 a day are "floating" and could easily slip back into poverty. Taking these people out of the equation, it put the "stable" middle class at 123 million, 13% of the population.

Yet economic growth does not necessarily mean shared growth: in some cases it means widening inequality, most vividly in South Africa.

There are now more than 100,000 Africans with at least $1m to invest. With an estimated fortune of $10.1bn (£6.5bn), the Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is Africa's richest man and one of the continent's 16 billionaires. The South African diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer – who also owns the country's largest private game park, the Tswalu Kalahari reserve – comes second, with a $6.5bn fortune. Patrice Motsepe, a 40-year-old mining magnate, is South Africa's first and only black billionaire, with $2.5bn. Together, the combined wealth of Africa's 40 richest is $64.9bn – roughly twice the GDP of Kenya ($32bn) or Ghana ($31bn) in 2010.


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