Economic challenges won't deter West Africans from spending


Ghanaians and Nigerians showed the highest appetite for luxury clothing according to a recent report on the emerging markets middle class consumers by Standard Chartered.

“I think you can’t ignore the experience of the last few years where we have seen a macro-economic stabilisation and transformation in many African countries,” Razia Khan, Regional Head Africa Research told CNBC Africa.

The trends uncovered from the report conducted with 5,000 middle-class consumers, across 5 of the Bank’s leading markets: Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Indonesia and India, showed that the vast majority of Africa’s growing middle class are self-employed.


“As we saw with Nigeria’s rebasing, we are still only coming to terms with the speed of that move in terms of the official data catching up but people on the ground, businesses in Africa have experienced this first hand,” she said.

Despite the challenges that Ghana’s economy faces including a wide budget deficit and weak cedi currency, nine out of ten of the middle income Ghanaian surveyed expected their economic situation to improve in the next five years

“We know that in Ghana, despite its great institutions, despite the improvement in its growth profile soon after it became an oil producer, has been going through a more turbulent time in terms of macroeconomic stability and foreign exchange volatility,” she explained.

The report showed that emerging market consumers have a confident outlook, with a majority of Indians, Indonesians and Nigerians expecting economic growth in their markets to continue, and a majority of consumers in all five countries (between 54 and 91 per cent) expecting their personal financial position to improve in the next five years.

“It is sending a very important message because it means that whatever turbulence we might see at the moment, is thought to be likely relatively short term. ”

Savings were also seen as a priority across all five countries, but particularly among Indonesians, Ghanaians and Kenyans where more than three quarters of Indonesians plan to prioritise saving as their wealth increases, and around half of Kenyans and Ghanaians are interested in saving more.

 “We all know about the propensity to consume in many different African economies, I think what is coming through quite strongly from the Nigerian results in the survey is a relative balance,” she added.

44 per cent of the Nigerian poll were willing to save more, 45 per cent were going to spend more as well as saving more and only nine per cent said they will only be looking to spend more.