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Sub-Saharan Africa's rising population and economies have led to a growing middle class and, in turn, more spending power which provides "a vast source of potential for prosperity," per experts at the African Development Bank.

The big picture: Since 2000, the wealth of sub-Saharan African nations has been growing much faster than the global average and than that of the more prosperous Northern African nations. And in the next five years, analysts at the International Monetary Fund expect the region's GDP to expand even faster.

Expand chart
Data: IMF World Economic Outlook Database; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Key numbers:

  • Africa's population has grown to 1 billion since 2010, and the continent's middle class has grown to 350 million, according to an African Development Bank estimate.
  • Private consumption has risen an average of 3.7% year-to-year since 2010, and that growth is expected to hold in 2018. It has been the most significant factor in the GDP growth of sub-Saharan Africa since the beginning of the century.
  • Consumer spending accounts for 50–60% of the growth of Africa's economy, with the second more impactful factor being investment in infrastructure.
  • As the population keeps growing, consumer spending is projected to rise from $680 billion in 2008 to $2.2 trillion by 2030.

Yes, but: The middle class is driving growth, but 645 million Africans still live without access to electricity and the lack of infrastructure has the potential to slow growth. Still, governments are ramping up spending on infrastructure, the African Development Bank notes. Per their analysis, public spending on infrastructure grew by 3% of GDP in 2014, and that growth is expected to stay constant for the next five years.

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Report: LGBTQ+ Afghans' lives "dramatically worsened" under Taliban rule

Taliban fighters in Kabul, Afghanistan, earlier this month. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP via Getty Images

LGBTQ+ Afghans have been threatened, attacked and "faced an increasingly desperate situation and grave threats to their safety" since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan last August, per a report published Wednesday.

What they're saying: "We spoke with LGBT Afghans who have survived gang rape, mob attacks, or have been hunted by their own family members who joined the Taliban, and they have no hope that state institutions will protect them," per a statement from study co-author J. Lester Feder.

4 hours ago - World

Canadian Indigenous group finds 93 suspected unmarked graves

A makeshift memorial honoring the 215 children whose remains were found in a mass grave in Brantford, Ontario, Canada, last May. Photo: Cole Burston/AFP via Getty Images

Indigenous leaders in Canada's western province of British Columbia said Tuesday they believe they've found 93 unmarked graves near a former boarding school.

The big picture: Hundreds of mass graves have been found at the grounds of former residential schools for Indigenous children since last May, when the remains of 215 children were uncovered at one such site in B.C.

7 hours ago - World

Coast Guard searches for 39 people after boat capsizes off Florida coast

A U.S. Coast Guard ship leaving its base in Miami Beach, Florida, in July. Photo: AP/Marta Lavandier

U.S. Coast Guard crews were searching into the night for 39 people whose boat sank off Florida's coast over the weekend after traveling from the Bahamas.

The big picture: A "good Samaritan" contacted the Coast Guard about 8 a.m. Tuesday to say they "rescued a man clinging to a capsized vessel" 45 miles east of Fort Pierce, per a tweet from the agency, which noted it was dealing with "a suspected human smuggling venture."

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