Cruise down the streets of Nairobi and you’ll notice Jaguars, Audis and Hummers are a common sight. Speeding through downtown streets and weaving in and out of corners, the latest luxury automobiles are just another indication of the emergence of the nouveau riche on the African continent.
With even a BMW 3-series costing upwards of $50,000 (thanks to import duty) Africa has become a hotbed for luxury automobiles where “one simply does not put a price on happiness”. And it seems this train of thought isn’t just limited to Nairobi…
Take a weekend trip to Cape Town or visit Abuja in Nigeria, and you’ll be amazed at just how many Porsches and Land Cruisers you see… With SUV’s being a particular weakness among African car enthusiasts, culture capitals across the continent have become a showroom for the latest and greatest in automobiles, electronic gadgets and the hottest fashion labels.
With Dubai just a five hour flight away the Dubai International Motor Show is a favorite for African shoppers in the market for the “something new”. With luxury cars serving as the strongest symbol of one’s success, wealthy African shoppers have been known to spend millions of dollars at just a single motor show.
But what’s perhaps most surprising, is that even with the narrow pothole-ridden streets and no insurance policies for supercars, wealthy African shoppers with money to burn are importing Ferrari’s and Lamborghini’s like they’re going out of style… This brash display of opulence is the latest indication of the growing wealth in Africa, despite increasing numbers living in extreme poverty.
In 2011, the African Development Bank put the size of the African middle class at 300 million, with that number expected to rise sharply over the next five years. And with the number of African billionaires having tripled in the last decade, we’re sure to see this spending spree continue!