Africa is the continent of contradictions. It is a region home to a huge proportion of the planet's riches (productive land, precious metals, hydrocarbons, renewable energies, etc.), but it is also the one with the largest share of people vulnerable to poverty. Things are changing rapidly on this continent, however. Africa has had one of the highest Human Development Index (HDI) growth rates in the world over the past 20 years, thanks in part to progress in health and education.
According to World Data Lab estimates, about 250 million Africans, or nearly 20 percent of the continent's population, are currently in the "middle class" - those whose consumption is no longer limited to food and basic necessities. By 2025, more than 30 million Africans are expected to join this standard of living category. As our map based on data published by Atlas AI shows though, the wealth gaps between some countries are still wide.
In five African countries, the average level of daily spending was still below $2.50 per person in 2018. These are DR Congo, Central African Republic, Malawi, Burundi and Madagascar. On the other end of the scale, South Africa, Botswana and Namibia had the highest purchasing power, with an average budget of over $10 per person per day. In the vast majority of countries on the continent (about 40), the average level of daily spending did not exceed $5 per day.