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Market potential of West African agglomerations

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Of the 1 939 urban agglomerations in the Africapolis database, 290 have a market potential - total population living within 40 km of the centre of an agglomeration - of more than 2 million people. Only nine of these agglomerations have a population of 2 million inhabitants or more, while 245 have less than 100 000 inhabitants. On the opposite end of this spectrum, only 70 agglomerations have a market potential of fewer than 100 000 people. These isolated agglomerations are mostly located in Chad and Mauritania. The market potential of a region is a good measure of spatial variations in economic density and can be interpreted to determine the economic attractiveness of a region. In denser regions, the intensity of interactions is greater and the spillover effects to surrounding regions are stronger. High market potential is also associated with greater availability and accessibility to services and facilities  (hospitals, schools, universities, etc.) generally associated with larger cities. The reality is more complex and market size and economic attractiveness also depend on a variety of features such as availability of infrastructure, accessibility in terms of time and cost, the extent of economic and social networks, and the existence and quality of regulations and trade agreements. Nonetheless, it provides an additional illustration of urban development not captured by city size alone.

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