Africa’s middle class well educated


He added that the emergence of the middle class is a key driver of Africa’s economic growth story.

(READ MORE: Growth projected for Africa in 2014)

The book co-authored by Ncube and Abebe Shimeles – The making of the middle class in Africa: evidence from DHS data said the size of the middle class has been growing.


“Findings from analysis of multiple country level household surveys indicate that individuals in the middle class tend to be well educated and the ‘returns’ to education in terms of higher asset accumulation are consistently higher for all level of education than no education at all,” read part of the report.

While buttressing the importance of the region’s middle class, Ncube told CNBC Africa, “We have to think about how to sustain Africa’s growth story, how it is going to be sustained and how it has come about.” 

Ncube added that the behaviour of the middle class was at the core of Africa’s growth story as they were the drivers of the domestic consumption.

“These are professionals, they own businesses and come from different walks of life and one key similarity is that they all have education.”

According to the authors of the book on the emerging middle class, the size of the middle class has been growing in several African countries, though very slowly compared with the rapid economic growth witnessed, particularly in the last decade.

“The factors that led to the changes could be broadly classified into those of asset shrinking (average asset index declined), or rising asset inequality, or rapid asset accumulation. Country cases are provided to illustrate these patterns,” said the authors.

Ncube said education was a key requirement of staying and moving into the middle class adding that the higher the education the better.

(READ MORE: Africa needs to organise its domestic capital for economic growth)

The authors said the recent interest in understanding the evolution of the middle class in the context of developing countries was inspired partly by economic successes in Asia and Latin America where the emerging middle class has played a major role in driving growth.

“Available evidence on the making of middle class so far is based on per capita consumption expenditure collected through large budget surveys,” said the authors.

“Such data are collected infrequently and in irregular time intervals in many countries in Africa making contemporaneous comparisons difficult.”