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Abstract

West Africa has a long tradition of human migration. Since the era of European colonization and during the twentieth century much of this migration has been rural to urban. This paper analyzes statistical data, observations, and interviews to compare the impacts of this migration on the cities of Bamako, Mali and Accra, Ghana. This analysis supports the conclusions that rural to urban migration in Ghana has resulted in the creation of an urban subsistence existence and an increased number of people participating in the informal sector of the economy. It further shows that when compared with Ghana, internal migration patterns and factors in Mali have resulted in much less growth in the urban population and informal sector of the economy. It appears that the people of Mali continue to prefer to engage in subsistence agriculture rather than to shift to a subsistence urban existence.

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