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A man walks past a shop window displaying designer clothes on a Durban street, January 17, 2012.
A man walks past a shop window displaying designer clothes on a Durban street, January 17, 2012.
(Rogan Ward/Reuters)

African billionaires reap fortunes but sow no middle class

The trouble with the new African moneyed class is that it looks very much like old wealth dressed in new clothes. A Nigerian business magazine, Ventures, triumphantly reports this week that Africa has 55 billionaires and hints heavily that there may be many more business tycoons skulking under the radar in a continent that has been widely touted as the New Latin America or even the new Asia, if you believe the investor relations puffery.