Wealth and Poverty in Africa

The Guardian on Africa’s economic growth and the emergence of new middle classes:

At the end of another of Kinshasa’s potholed roads, lined with shacks and crumbling matchbox houses, comes a sudden clearing. It is a sandy patch of land surrounded by water in which bare-chested boys in dugout canoes paddle among the hyacinths. A giant pump is working day and night, reclaiming land from the sandbanks and river beds, expanding the city in defiance of nature.

Welcome to La Cité du Fleuve – River City, or “the new Manhattan” as this multibillion-pound development has been hopefully described by newspapers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Just 15 hectares (38 acres) now, but aiming for 380, it is perhaps the most ambitious statement yet about Africa‘s improving fortunes – and the promise of a growing African consumer class.

River City is backed by a British hedge fund that specialises in counter-trend betting and, says the developer Robert Choudury, “a bigger counter-trend is hard to find”. Ravaged by war and disease, DRC ranks bottom of the UN’s human development index. More than half the population is living on less than $1.25 a day and only 2% of roads are paved.

Please follow link to continue: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/dec/25/africas-middle-class-hope-continent?CMP=twt_gu

And this interesting Guardian graphic: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/interactive/2011/dec/25/wealth-poverty-africa-interactive?CMP=twt_gu

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