West African Trade: A Study of Competition, Oligopoly and Monopoly in a Changing Economy

By P. T. Bauer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4
OUTLINE OF THE COMPOSITION OF IMPORTS AND OF THEIR METHOD OF DISTRIBUTION

1. GROWTH AND COMPOSITION OF THE IMPORT TRADE

The import trade of West Africa has expanded rapidly in the last halfcentury or so, although it has been subject to marked fluctuations. There are numerous defects and gaps in the trade statistics, which are not always strictly comparable; but the general trend revealed in Table 2 is unmistakably one of rapid growth.


Table 2. Imports of certain commodities into Nigeria and the Gold Coast, 1899-1951
1899-1901 1909-1911 1919-1921 1929-1931 1935-1937 1951
Nigeria
Cotton piece goods3221,1883,9132,6343,37114,744
(£000's)
(m. sq.yd.)27776889151121
Wheat flour (000's cwt.)-32277857272
Sugar (000's tons)0.2-0.74.79.811.0
Cigarettes, estimated--1562984171,700
consumption (m.)
Cement (000's tons)-16154851261
Motor fuel (000's tons)---1625167
Kerosene (000's tons)-98111143
Gold Coast
Cotton piece goods2894712,1211,1421,72610,787
(£000's)
(m. sq.yd.)162225316583
Wheat flour (000's cwt.)274958205154501
Sugar (000's tons)0.81.61.54.86.214.7
Cigarettes (m.)-20125159214811
Cement, including lime--194364222
(000's tons)
Motor fuel (000's tons)--4202375
Kerosene (000's tons)235111123
Note. Some of the figures for the earlier years are estimated, chiefly from value figures on
the basis of export prices from the supplying countries.

It is evident from the table that these economies were not stagnant, but were growing rapidly in the decades before the war. For all practical purposes the figures in Table 2 can serve as consumption indices; and they indicate a rapid increase in consumption. Total

-47-

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