Rise in Afrikan women leaders
2012 witnessed three African women take on key leadership positions. Joyce Banda, was appointed president in Malawi, Liberians re-elected Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and the African Union inaugurated its first woman as chief, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. Banda has made notable economic reforms, which include selling the presidential jet, reducing the number of government cars and cutting her salary. Likewise, Dlamini-Zuma, has taken office facing monetary woes and has challenged the organization's reliance on foreign aid.
Dlamini-Zuma's election is hoped to ease tensions between the AU and the International Criminal Court (ICC), which presently has as its top prosecutor, an African woman, Gambia's Fatou Bensouda. Afrikan leaders have accused the court of focusing on the abuses of African nations, while failing to investigate abuses in other nations. The AU has welcomed Bensouda as a major step in healing relations between itself and the ICC.
According to the Human Development Index (HDI), which is a way of measuring development by combining indicators of life expectancy, educational attainment and income, Afrika has some of the fastest-growing economies in the world. And as a result, there is a burgeoning middle class in a number of nations. The number of middle-class Afrikans tripled over the past three decades to about 34% of the continent's population, or 313 million people out of a continent of nearly a billion. This is arguably the largest growth since independence (and largerly due to Afrika's partnering with China). However, the method for determining who comprises or what constitutes the middle-class in Afrika, is based on people spending between $2 and $20 a day, a threshold that a number of analysts say is too low, and consequently paints a misleading "prosperity." What we can say, is that although there is economic growth and a growing middle-class, it is a "floating class," one that is always at risk of sliding back in to poverty.
The report, also warns of the growing income inequality. Nevertheless it notes that the middle class is crucial in anchoring African economies. Still analysts have warned that the current growth in a middle class has yet to generate any real employment.