Market Potential, Agglomeration Effects and the Location of French Firms in Africa

Working paper 774
Alain Pholo Bala, Michel Tenikue and Baraka Nafari
Publication date: 
March, 2019

This paper informs the debate on the existence of agglomeration effects in Africa. It uses a structural estimation approach to investigate the impact of agglomeration economies and forward linkages on the localization of French affiliates in Africa. Using a sample of French subsidiaries in Africa, we compate the theoretically derived measure of market potential with the standard form used by geographers and with a measure of local demand. Our results show that maket potential matters for location choice. However, the semi-elasticity estimates suggest that the intensity of demand linkages in Africa is lower than what has been observed in the European Union. Moreover, their effects seem to be insignificant when we consider the spillover variables. These spillover effects have a positive and significant impact on location which suggests that agglomerations effects are at play throughout Africa.

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