10.12.2012 | DIE: "Emerging African Middle Classes"

The German Development Institute (DIE) would like to cordially invite you to attend an evening panel discussion on the topic:

Emerging African Middle Classes


Please register for the event by sending an email with your name and contact information to the following E-mail. A confirmation of your registration will be sent in the week prior to the event.

For more than a decade, the perception of Africa as a continent of expanding economic opportunities has spread among international observers. Improvements in macroeconomic management and governance, investments in human capital, improving terms of trade and increased foreign direct investment are among the factors that have contributed to impressive economic growth rates in many African countries. While economic trajectories across the continent remain diverse and overall economic improvements at the national level often obscure internal distributional challenges, the positive aspects of the continent’s recent economic transformation have inspired a wave of optimism about future development prospects.

This event assesses the role of African middle classes as protagonists in transformation processes within African states. On the one hand, middle classes may be perceived as drivers of changing consumption patterns, creating new opportunities for investors or placing stress on available resources. Changing consumption trends may in turn have consequences for the structure of national economies as production adapts to new market realities and diversification proceeds. On the other hand, middle classes have the potential to influence the political context framing economic development prospects, for example by increasing demand for improvements in the provision of public services. Panelists will discuss the existing evidence on the character of African middle classes, the nature of their contribution to transformative processes in African economies, and the challenges that their rise might present for ‘Emerging Africa.’


  • Bettina Gaus, Die Tageszeitung, Author of Der unterschätzte Kontinent: Reise zur Mittelschicht Afrikas
  • Michael Monnerjahn, Afrika-Verein der deutschen Wirtschaft e.V.
  • Dr. Abebe Shimeles, Development Research Department, African Development Bank


Date: Monday, December 10, 2012 (17.30-19.30), followed by a reception.

German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE), Tulpenfeld 6, 53113 Bonn
Google map: http://g.co/maps/njwya