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Rise of Africa’s Middle Class

Editor: Henning Melber

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Across Africa the narrative of “Africa rising” has taken root in a burgeoning middle class. Ambitious and increasingly affluent, this group symbolizes the values and hopes of the new Africa, and they are regarded as important agents of both economic development and democratic change.

This narrative, however, obscures the complex and often ambiguous role that this group actually plays in African societies. The Rise of Africa’s Middle Class brings together a diverse range of economists, political scientists, and development experts to provide a much needed corrective, overturning the received wisdom within development circles and providing a fresh new perspective on social transformations in contemporary Africa.

Featuring a wide array of case studies from across sub-Saharan Africa and covering highly topical issues, including black middle-class support for the ANC in South Africa and anti-government activism in Nigeria, this collection of essays is a timely, on-the-ground look at the realities behind the idea of Africa rising.