Journal of
African Studies and Development

  • Abbreviation: J. Afr. Stud. Dev
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2189
  • DOI: 10.5897/JASD
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 171

Full Length Research Paper

Enhancing the middle class as a development resource in Africa: Insights from Northern Ghana

Vincent Amanor-Boadu*
  • Vincent Amanor-Boadu*
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, 306 Waters Hall, United States.
  • Google Scholar
Kara Ross
  • Kara Ross
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, 306 Waters Hall, United States.
  • Google Scholar
Yacob Zereyesus
  • Yacob Zereyesus
  • Department of Agricultural Economics, Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS 66506, 306 Waters Hall, United States.
  • Google Scholar


  •  Received: 15 December 2016
  •  Accepted: 08 March 2017
  •  Published: 30 April 2017

Abstract

One indicator of national economic progress is middle class expansion. While recent studies show an increasing sub-Saharan African middle class, there is no clear empirical appreciation of the factors driving this and how they may be sustained. This study uses data from Northern Ghana and a logistic regression model to identify the factors determining the probability of being in the middle class to provide public and private policy support. The study evaluated two alternative middle class definitions, Kharas and Getz’s and African Development Bank’s, and found that although definitions matter, the signs on the influencing variables were similar. Our results showed that education, locale and household size significantly influenced the odds of being in the middle class. For example, urban households with educated heads have a higher probability of being in the middle class than rural households with uneducated heads. Additionally, increasing household size has an adverse effect on the probability of being in the middle class. The results direct public and private policy focus on improving education and literacy programs, building infrastructure and controlling household sizes to support middle class expansion in Northern Ghana. 

Key words: Middle class, Africa, Ghana, poverty, education, economic development, infrastructure.