Videos: Ethiopia’s Emerging Middle Class

Mercedes Benz for sale in Addis Ababa Ethiopia

The African Development Bank (AfDB), entitled the Middle of the Pyramid: Dynamics of the Middle Class (2011), defines the middle class broadly to include a group of people who spend (on per capita basis) US $2 -$20 daily.

AfDB further divides the African middle class into three groups:

1/ Floating class (just crossing pass the poverty line) (able to consume $2 to $4)

2/ Lower-class ($4 to $10), and

3/ Upper class ($10 to $20)

Overall, this class represents one-third of the African population (or 313 million Africans). All of the North African countries and Gabon have over 75% of their populations attaining a middle class status, whereas Liberia, Mozambique, Rwanda and two other countries have middle class populations representing less than 10% of their total populations.

Ethiopia’s middle class represents 21.5% of the total population, compared with 40.1% for Djibouti and 44.9% for Kenya (no data for the other neighbouring countries of Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia). Otherwise, the rest of the statistics reveals the real diversity of the African continent in terms of the growth of middle class, which the AfDB says “is associated with better governance, economic growth and poverty reduction”.

By applying the AfDB data above, we find that there are 17.2 million Ethiopians in the middle class group (out of a population of 80 million), although 10.8 million of them are in the floating class, which means that they could be vulnerable to income loses swing back to “poor” status.

As a group, this Ethiopian middle class population could represent diverse backgrounds, including construction workers, medical doctors, university instructors, senior bureaucrats, political elites, NGO workers, foreign embassy workers, business elites, among others.

Video: Ethiopia’s emerging middle class

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