Time to recognize Africa’s rising middle class

Middle Classes in Africa is a project created and run by the photographer Joan BARDELETTI, in collaboration with various partners. It aims at understanding and describing who are the middle classes in Africa and the role of this population in the development of the continent. This in-depth project is done through a 20 months and 6 countries photo essay associated with journalism and research publications.

Why middle classes in Africa?

The middle class population in developping countries is growing at fast pace and should reach one billion persons within 20 years*, whereas this population is today a symbol of western countries society. This evolution will lead to important changes since this booming population has stronger economical power and political concerns. A clear reality in China and India, middle classes exist but are not yet obvious in Africa. They are however greatly involved in stakes the continent is at for its development.

Understanding better this population is understanding better the present and future of the continent.

What are the project goals?

* Present a new but realistic vision of Africa to the public of developed countries. Working on Middle Classes to lead the people to question themselves rather to inspire them pity about the continent.
* Explore new ways of associating photo essay and classical research work. Raise concerns on the links between this middle classes population and the african continent development. Place this issue into the agenda of public and private decision makers.
* Ease the dialogue between Africa and western countries.

What is the project about?


During about 20 months, Joan BARDELETTI will realize a photographic essay on middle classes in various African countries, starting with Ivory Coast, Kenya and Mozambique (3 other countries to be defined this summer will follow). In each country, he follows in their every day life a dozen of persons representing the faces of this middle classes. Working in different areas with distinct stories and cultures allow to highlight the diversity of middle classes situations but also what bring them together.


A specific team of a dozen of experts, both french and african, coming from universities, politics, NGOs, is dedicated to work on this issue. They aim at better characterizing this media hidden population with a particular focus in countries were photo essay take place and a strong link with today events (global recession, elections, …). This work will lead to various publications in 2009 and 2010 and is coordinated by researchers of the AFD (French Agency for Development) and the CEAN (Centre for Study on Africa, part of Sciences Politique Bordeaux).

There is permanent dialogue between the photographer and researchers. These two complementary approachs enhance themselves.

I am excited to see how this project evolves.
Check out the website to learn more!


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About zia505

The world is changing right before my eyes. Sometimes I don't know how I will ever keep up. There are so many ideas floating around on this internet. If only I had the means to collect them....

One response to “Time to recognize Africa’s rising middle class”

  1. Luta says :

    Very exciting work. Thank you.-Luta

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