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Unpacking the aspirations of Ghana’s middle class

Grace is a 32-year-old Ghanaian who has been self-employed ever since she left school at 16. Despite the West African oil producing country’s many challenges, Grace is generally positive about the future. She anticipates her financial position to improve over the coming years. Some of this extra income she plans to spend on holidays to America and Europe.

The above fictional character is a typical middle income consumer in Ghana, according to a recent study by Standard Chartered bank, in partnership with research consultancy GlobeScan.

The study offers insight into the aspirations of middle class consumers in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya. Last week How we made it in Africa looked at consumer trends in Nigeria; this week it’s Ghana’s turn.

To produce the study, researchers interviewed 1,000 middle class Ghanaians. Respondents were classed as “affluent” or “emerging affluent” based on their household belongings and activities such as accessing the internet. Affluent Ghanaians comprise approximately 10% of the population, while the emerging affluent make up about 35%.

Employment status: Some 42% of middle class Ghanaians surveyed said they are self-employed. Other areas of employment include: public sector (14%), local companies (8%), family businesses (5%) and international firms (2%). Of those surveyed, 14% are students while 10% are unemployed.

Confidence in growth prospects: Most middle class Ghanaians are not entirely convinced about their country’s growth prospects. Only 16% indicated that they have “complete confidence” in Ghana’s future economic growth, while 32% said they have “some confidence”.

Feeling wealthy: For 55% of Ghanaians, increasing the amount they save is the activity most likely to make them feel wealthier. Living in their desired neighbourhood (19%) and owning products such as cars, clothing and technology (19%) also contribute to a sense of wealth.

Anticipated spending: The vast majority (93%) of the middle class plan to make improvements to their housing conditions over the coming five years. Other activities on top of the spending list include: buying the latest technology goods (89%), donating more to charities (89%), purchasing new household products and appliances (86%) and spending more on clothing and accessories (80%).

Internet use: Some 43% of respondents indicated that they use the internet for social networking, making it the top online activity. Other reasons for using the internet include: studying/education (31%), keeping up to date with news and current affairs (29%), shopping (3%) and online banking (3%).

Travel plans: In terms of personal travel, most (68%) plan to explore their own country, followed by the Americas (28%) and Europe (26%). For business purposes, the majority of respondents expect to visit the Americas (26%) and Europe (24%), as well as travelling within Ghana (20%).

Visit How we made it in Africa next week Monday for more insight into middle class consumers in Kenya.

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  • Akosua

    Sometimes I feel you people on this website are so out of touch. Do you have the faintest idea the struggles of majority Ghanaians under the presidency of John Mahama. At least conduct a lilttel survey every now and then and report the realistic facts of what is really going on in Ghana. This is one of the worst economic years ghana has ever experienced. Do your research and speak to people on the ground and stop giving false information like it is all fine and dandy in Ghana and always ranking it on top this top that. 80% of the population are suffering.

    • Jaco Maritz

      Thank you for your comment. Please note that the information in this article (as in all others) are the opinions of the sources we speak to. In this case, the survey was done by Standard Chartered, and the statistics are therefore as per their research. Rgds Jaco.

    • Cool_Kent

      Hi Akosua,
      What you are describing is not just in ghana, it’s everywhere in africa. and guess what it has nothing to do with president or minister. Elect anyone, bring anyone into office, it can only get worse.
      The issue in Africa is a mentality issue. Africa has the wrong mentality, the wrong mindset and a very primitive thinking process.
      No president can help get rid of that mentality and if anyone says he can develop any country in africa, he is a liar and the father of it.
      We need to change the mentality and the thinking process and the only material that can do that in the Word of God. I’m preaching christianity here and I’m not campaigning for a religion. I’m speeking truth, the faster we find that out the sooner we’ll start the mentality renewal thing and the better it’ll be. The good news is that some savvy ppl like me have already figured that out and are already working on ourselves. We’ll emerge at the right time and testify.
      Until then, know for sure that nothing can help africa, no amount of money, no amount of natural resources…only a radical change of mentality and thinking process will help us.
      Be strong and of good courage!

      • Kwabena

        That’s not true friend. Our current president does not know what he’s doing unfortunately. We’ve other better leaders so we can compare. Stop insulting all Africans because some leaders fail.

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