Market Solutions Growing an African Middle Class

Market-based reforms are helping to create a service and manufacturing-based African middle class. As a result, populations are more likely to demand fairer government rule. 

What's the Latest Development?

New business opportunities in Africa are offering a burgeoning middle class the opportunity to escape the continent's infamous cycle of poverty and violence, empowering larger sections of the population to hold their governments accountable. "According to the African Development Bank, this middle class already includes 313 million people, or 34 percent of the total population." Commodities like oil, natural gas, old and diamonds represent a shrinking share of economic output, with service sector and manufacturing jobs expanding. Market-based lending programs, rather than corruption-prone foreign-aid packages, have helped along the way. 

What's the Big Idea?

Richard Kimani, who lives in Nairobi, Kenya, is a good example of the power of market-based reforms. After securing a low-interest loan worth millions from a German investment company, Kimani has built a successful juice bottling business. Shipping the manufacturing equipment from Germany, however, is not easy, as local officials still require bribes to turn the wheels of industry. But, says Kimani, budding industries demonstrate to the middle class that there is a lot to lose. As a result, he expects that Kenya's leaders will be held to higher account in the presidential election scheduled for next spring. 

Photo credit:


LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Are cats jerks, or is it YOU who is the jerk?

A new study from Oregon State University makes it clear: it's you.

Photo: Wikipedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • Researchers discovered that the more attention you give a cat, the more likely they are to return it.
  • Cats are territorial; being in their home environment greatly affects their attitude.
  • The common wisdom that cats are aloof is provably false.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less