(CNN) — One out of three Africans are now middle class, according to a new report — but can that really be true?
A report released last week by the African Development Bank (AFDB) said that Africa’s middle class — defined as people spending between $2 and $20 a day at 2005 prices — increased to 34.3% of the continent’s population in 2010 — nearly 313 million people.
“The malls that you see mushrooming everywhere, the cars that you see in the roads, the traffic jams in Lagos, Johannesburg, Nairobi — that speaks of a growing middle class,” says Mthuli Ncube, chief economist and vice president of the AFDB.
He also notes that this bourgeoning middle class can lure and reward international investors looking to tap the continent’s growing economy.
It’s a call to say ‘look, please invest in Africa, there are good returns.’
–Mthuli Ncube, VP of AFDB
“It’s a call to say ‘look, please invest in Africa, there are good returns,'” he says. “Africa is there for everyone to invest and look at.”
The figure is a marked improvement on previous years, compared to about 111 million middle class Africans, or 26.2% of the population, in 1980, 151 million or 27% in 1990 and 196 million or 27.2% in 2000.