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Add to Calendar 25/01/2018 10:00 25/01/2018 17:15 Africa/Casablanca African Middle Classes Beyond the Buzz: Economic, Social and Political Dynamics Paris, France “African middle classes”, popularized by the 2011 African Development Bank report, often stand as a symbol of the economic and demographic dynamism of the continent. Their announced emergence feeds into a certain number of expectations in the economic and political spheres: growth driven by domestic demand, potential new markets, democratization, and so on. Yet, the... Paris, France OCP Policy Center contact@ocppc.ma false DD/MM/YYYY
Thursday, January 25, 2018 - 10:00 to 17:15

African Middle Classes Beyond the Buzz: Economic, Social and Political Dynamics

Paris, France

“African middle classes”, popularized by the 2011 African Development Bank report, often stand as a symbol of the economic and demographic dynamism of the continent. Their announced emergence feeds into a certain number of expectations in the economic and political spheres: growth driven by domestic demand, potential new markets, democratization, and so on. Yet, the category “African middle class” and associated interpretations must be considered carefully. In Africa, as elsewhere in the world, the notion of middle class remains controversial: consensus is lacking on both, its definition and its criteria. Polysemous, vague, and encompassing, the term can cover a wide range of socio-economic situations. 

This conference aims to understand the major issues underlying the “African middle class” category and, through various case studies, provide nuanced interpretations of the ongoing socio-economic dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa.

Agenda

 

10:00 – 10:15

Opening Remarks

- Thomas Gomart, Director, Ifri
- Karim El Aynaoui, Managing Director, OCP Policy Center

10:15 – 12:15

Debate on African Middle Class Categories
               

Global economic and demographic challenges in the past century have spurred the emergence and popularization of the category “African middle class”. The category is in itself problematic, often associated with unverified positive correlations of economic or political development. Nevertheless, it does raise genuine questions with respect to ongoing socio-economic transformations. This session will aim to revisit the implications of constructing the middle class as a category, its definitions, and its uses, as well as to discuss the forms of its empirical reality.  
 
Chair
Clélie Nallet, Research Fellow, Sub-Saharan Africa Program, Ifri
 
Speakers 
- Abebe Shimeles, Director and Manager of the Development Research Division, African Development Bank 
- Dominique Darbon, Professor, Sciences Po Bordeaux
- Lucas Chancel, Co-Director, World Inequality Lab and WID.world (TBC)
- Dieter Neubert, Professor for Sociology of Development, Faculty for Cultural Sciences at the University of Bayreuth
- Larbi Jaidi, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center

Afternoon sessions: Political and Socio-Economic Realities of African Middle Classes

Different case studies based on qualitative and/or quantitative methods will be addressed to understand the socio-economic realities of middle classes, as well as their economic and political practices.

14:00 – 15:30

Socio-Economic Dynamics: The Cases of the Ivory Coast, Morocco and Cameroon

Chair 
Anda David, Research Officer, Agence Française de Développement (AFD)                          

Speakers
Jean-Philippe Berrou, Economist, Sciences Po Bordeaux (Ivory Coast)
Abdallah Saaf, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center (Morocco) 
Yves Mintoogue, PhD Candidate, Sorbonne University – Paris 1 (Cameroon)     

15:30 – 15:45

Coffee Break

15:45 – 17:15

African Middle Classes and their Political Practices: The Cases of Zambia, South Africa and Ethiopia
                                               
Chair
Alfredo Valladao, Senior Fellow, OCP Policy Center         
 
Speakers
(Zambia) (TBD) 
Simone Schotte, Research Fellow, GIGA Institute of African Affairs (South Africa) 
Clélie Nallet, Research Fellow, Sub-Saharan Africa Program, Ifri (Ethiopia)  

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