By Terence McNamee, Mark Pearson, Wiebe Boer (eds.)

ISBN-10: 1137542802

ISBN-13: 9781137542809

ISBN-10: 1349507083

ISBN-13: 9781349507085

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Extra info for Africans Investing in Africa: Understanding Business and Trade, Sector by Sector

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Diversification gave the Wangara more economic leverage. Their forward and backward linkages and processes gave them a unique and dominant foothold in the long-distance trade sector. The much discussed trade monopoly of the Wangara was thus de facto and not de jure, a product of the ability to spread investments across multiple points of a value chain. Diversification in the Wangara’s commercial activities increased their forward and backward integration, which cut operational costs. It also increased their ability to move from one node of the supply and manufacturing to the other.

Because they had more capital than the Wangara, and because European-denominated currencies were replacing local ones, the Europeans were on the ascendance commercially while the Wangara were caught flatfooted, unable to compete or adapt. With the advent of informal imperial arrangements in the mid-to-late nineteenth century, European states, invoking treaties and territorial claims as part of the scramble for Africa, began to use military might and their statebacked monopoly trading companies to decimate African trading networks, commercial groups, middlemen and trade brokers.

10 The Wangara traders from Gambia and Sierra Leone met at Badoora to exchange kola nuts, cotton and fabrics, which each group then distributed over its commercial territorial sphere. Another important trajectory of the Wangara’s commercial expansion was southwards towards the Akan forest, the vast forested territory encompassing modern Ghana and Southern Ivory Coast. From their Middle Niger base in modern Mali, the Wangara traders began trading south as early as the early fifteenth century. In the trade between Mali and the Akan forest states, Djene served as a hub.

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Africans Investing in Africa: Understanding Business and Trade, Sector by Sector by Terence McNamee, Mark Pearson, Wiebe Boer (eds.)


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