June 21 - As African economies boom, luxury firms are targeting the disposable incomes of affluent professionals, who enjoy displaying their wealth by indulging in an expensive bottle of bubbly. Hayley Platt reports.
A bottle of bubbly in Nigeria can set you back as much as $900 dollars. But that doesn't seem to bother fitness consultant Isaac Okona. He's one of a growing number of affluent middle classes keen to show off his newly acquired wealth. (SOUNDBITE) (English) ISAAC OKONA, FITNESS CONSULTANT, SAYING: "I come to this bar because it has a fantastic ambiance and it's a place where I want to chill from the hectic day and maybe come and do a bottle of champagne." Whilst only a small elite can afford fast cars and expensive watches, champagne and spirits are a more accessible luxury for those whose disposable income is on the rise. Drinks giant Diageo says up to 30 percent of Nigeria's emerging middle classes can now afford to buy premium spirits. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FELIX ENWEMADU, GENERAL MANAGER, DIAGEO BRANDS NIGERIA, SAYING: "A lot of the spirit consumption is being driven by status and aspiration, people want to be seen with it so you have...the trend we've seen in the market is the emerging consumer, yeah, when he wants to show off, he will spend more money behind spirit brands and you know when there's a bit of a challenge with his disposable income, he will invest behind beer." As economies boom, elite circles are widening. The number of high-net worth individuals in Africa rose 4 percent in 2010 to 2011. German fashion house Hugo Boss is one of the latest high-end brands to expand in the region. But while the super rich remain the main target for firms there are millions of Africans still stuck in crushing poverty.