• 375

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Africa's Middle Class Prospers, but at a Price

Africa's Middle Class Prospers, but at a Price

In Ghana, the middle class is growing fast. It's a trend typical across the whole continent. But, there are rising concerns about the impact of the development and whether certain parts of society are being left behind. There’s no doubt that "Citizen Kofi" is the place to be seen in Accra.

Africa's Middle Class Prospers, but at a Price

The colorful five-storey building, located in the heart of the Ghanaian capital, can be seen from afar. It's packed with expensive restaurants, a wine bar, night clubs and a "Hollywood Lounge" - everything one might need to host parties and celebrations as well as seminars and conferences. Anneselma Bentil works here as an event manager. The 32-year-old Ghanaian is responsible for organizing events and marketing.

"When Barclays Bank needs a good location for a meeting with 30 to 50 representatives from around the world, they call me to organize it," Bentil told DW, explaining how she makes the necessary arrangements, estimates the costs and meets all the customer's requirements. Out of reach But what "Citizen Kofi" has to offer is clearly not intended for all Ghanaians. That begins with the prices. A coffee or soft drink, for instance, costs the equivalent of $2 (1.51 euro). The average citizen spends only about a quarter of that on a similar drink in a typical street café. Bentil grew up in an average income family. Her father was a journalist, her mother was an employee at the council.

"We couldn't go out to eat every day, but we always had enough to eat on the table," she says. Like her two brothers, Bentil was able to study, earning a degree in business and social science. Today, she earns 1,200 Ghanaian cedi or about $630 a month in her job as an event manager.

Bentil's income and education makes her a member of Africa's upper middleclass. The World Bank defines the average African middleclass income as between $2 and $20 a day. Bentil is married. She says that she and her husband are not wealthy but that they are in a position to afford more than just the bare necessities.

They occasionally shop in expensive supermarkets instead of the street markets, she adds.

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NAIJ.com
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