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To know everything about the project

« 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.

* Source :  « Perspectives pour l’économie mondiale », World Bank, Nov. 2007

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.


Calendar and events

From the end of 2008 to mid 2010…

  • Production of the photographic essay and research works in 6 African countries
  • Launch of a dedicated website where all the project’s production can be found
  • Europ and Africa press publications and research publications
  • Construction of a multimedia content associating images, sounds from interviews and text with key findings of the research work

All this content will be of course available permanently on www.classesmoyennes-afrique.org !

The project will be concluded in France on Summer/Autumn 2010 by …

  • A large photographic exhibition in a public place in Paris associating images, information pannels with resaerch key findings and multimedia projections
  • An international conference on the link between middle classes and the african continent development
  • A photo book publication

From December 2010 the exhibition will then tour around Africa within the capitals of countries studied during the project. Images will be presented within the middle classes living places thanks to large scale prints, multimedia slideshows…. A dedicated blog and reccording booths will be set up to offer the public the oppoprtunity to register their feelings and own vision of midlle classes.


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