World Bank indicators show Africa gradually becoming middle-income continent

A new Africa-based World Bank report says Africa is gradually becoming a middle-income continent.

Released by the World Bank October 4, 2012,  the report, ‘Africa’s Pulse’, noted that an increasing number of African countries are moving into middle-income status after ten years of high growth.

The World Bank defines a middle-income country as those achieving more than $1,000 per capita income.

According to the report, 22 of 48 countries in sub-Sahara Africa with a population of 400 million people have officially achieved middle-income status while another ten countries representing another 200 million people today “would reach middle-income status by 2025 if current growth trends continue or with some modest growth and stabilization in countries such as Comoros and Zimbabwe.”

Another seven countries which are home to 70 million people could reach this milestone if they created economic growth of seven percent growth over the coming year, it stated.

However, the report indicated that ten African countries, which are fragile and conflict- affected states, and with a combined population of 230 million people, have “almost no chance” to reach middle-income status by 2025.

The report also notes that with rapid population growth, Africa is urbanizing rapidly, with deep implications for social and economic opportunities.

“No country has ever reached high income with low urbanization. Today, 41% of Africans live in cities, with an additional one percent every two years,” the World Bank said and by 2033, Africa like the rest of the world will be a majority urban continent.

Urbanization and development go together, it added.

Poverty rates on the continent, the World Bank observes have been falling faster than one percentage point a year and for the first time, between 2005 and 2008, the absolute number of people living on $1.25 a day fell.

Child mortality has also been declining, it noted.

By Ekow Quandzie

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