Elizabeth Dickinson at FP reports:
Given all this, perhaps the only thing about Africa that isn’t changing quickly is our perceptions of it. There’s an image impressed in all of our minds of a starving child, symobilizing an impoverished continent. If that was ever true, this is an excellent reminder that today, it’s at most a snapshot. Yes, there’s great human suffering and it’s not hard to find. But Africa as a whole is becoming a middle class continent.
It is hard to completely buy Dickinson’s optimism given the fact that Somalia, the DRC, Chad, Central Africa Republic, Sudan, among others are still far from being stable polities. The precarious nature of the stability in the more stable African states such as Uganda, Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda e.t.c. are also cause for concern.
That said, the reality is that there are many Africas. Those who fail to internalize that fact continue to do so at their own peril. Just ask the Indians and the Chinese.
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FYI: Sudan is officially a middle-income country – one of only a handful in Sub-Sahara Africa; go check, so that provides at least anecdotal evidence of a growing middle class; see car pools across country – and compare with sim size – city/town/village elsewhere in SSA as providing further anecdotal evidence of Sudan’s burgeoning middle class – nationwide, not just Khartoum.
Moreover, Sudan has done that flying on one engine:
1) No int debt relief;
2) No loans from IMF since ’85; IDA since ’93; A
3) Cut off from approx 1/4 of the global economy by sanctions – i.e the USA.
Sudan’s middle class is indeed large and growing exponentially (yes millions remain stuck in extreme poverty with little hope of climbing up);
e.g. mini cab drivers in El Fasher, North Darfur, easily make SDG35 per day net = approx US$10 per day – i.e middle class by the definition;
2) Lord, even cigarette sellers in Nyala, cap of South Darfur, make SDG 40 per day net profit.