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Africa in Fact Issue 28, November 2014: Making up the middle

Africa in Fact Issue 28, November 2014: Making up the middle

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This month’s Africa in Fact looks at the middle class. The number of Africans considered middle class now outstrips those living in poverty, according to the World Bank. However, identifying who belongs to this class is complicated and controversial. Even using the most straightforward criterion—income—can lead to confusion. For instance, the African Development Bank in 2011 published a report which included in the middle class people spending as little as $2 per day. Under this definition, one in three Africans (more than 350m people) belongs to the middle class—an assertion most Africans would find jarring. Whatever its size, the middle class matters for democracy because it has the means and education to hold governments to account. It is more likely than other classes to press for the rule of law, property rights and better public services.