Key Points:

  • The rise of the middle class in emerging democracies is an important global issue.
  • In 2012, 14 per cent, or 7,2 million, South Africans identified as middle class according to the UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing.
  • Middle class growth is an important policy objective with the benefits of reducing poverty, cultivating a more inclusive and stable society, and growing pressure on the state to be more efficient and accountable.
  • For the middle class to produce maximum benefits, it must emerge outside of a dynamic developmental process in which opportunities for business are expanding and essential government services are easily accessible.