Rural-Urban Population Growth, Economic Growth and Urban Agglomeration in Sub-Saharan Africa: What Does Williamson-Kuznets Hypothesis Say?

Chigozie Nelson Nkalu, Richardson Kojo Edeme*, Johnson Nchege, Ogochukwu Winnie Arazu

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The study analyses the dynamic effect of rural-urban relationship, economic growth and urban agglomeration in sub-Saharan Africa with a view of testing the validity of the Williamson-Kuznets hypothesis. The study utilized panel data analysis with pooled ordinary least squares with secondary annual time series data ranging from 1970 to 2017 and sourced from the World Bank database. The study equally employed both homogeneous and heterogeneous panel unit root tests to verify the stationarity of the panel data variables before estimating the model. However, the estimation result revealed that both rural and urban population growth has a negative impact as well as a statistically significant result on urban agglomeration in sub-Saharan Africa. The result equally showed a negative impact but statistically insignificant relationship between urban agglomeration and foreign direct investment. Also, a statistically significant and positive relationship was recorded between economic growth and urban agglomeration, thereby validating the Williamson-Kuznets hypothesis in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on the findings, the study among other numerous policy recommendations calls for a critical review of policies in the economies of sub-Saharan Africa to ensure effective utilization of the foreign direct investment net inflows towards initiating more and robust development projects both in the cities and rural areas, as well as expand the provisions of the basic infrastructural facilities and development projects. This would aim to curtail any perceived and unwarranted influx to the urban areas by the rural dwellers, hence they do not contribute significantly to growth in urban agglomeration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1247-1261
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Asian and African Studies
Issue number8
Early online date31 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • economic growth
  • panel data analysis
  • pooled ordinary least squares
  • Rural-urban population growth
  • sub-Saharan Africa
  • urban agglomeration


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