Rural and urban populations are moving closer together

Africa is the least urbanised continent in the world but an urban transition is very much underway. This is particularly visible in West Africa where the number of urban agglomerations increased from 152 in 1950 to almost 2 000 in 2010. Today towns and cities are home to 41% of the region’s total population. Seven West African countries have an urbanisation rate close to 50% (Cape Verde, Côte d’Ivoire, The Gambia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo). At only 18%, Niger remains one of the least urbanised countries in the world, comparable with Burundi and Ethiopia. Beyond megacities, West Africa is characterised by a dense network of small- and medium-sized agglomerations that contribute to shaping national urban networks and to connecting rural and urban populations.

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