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

By P. T. Bauer | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 15
OUTLINE OF THE GROWTH, COMPOSITION AND RECENT HISTORY OF THE EXPORT TRADE

I. THE GROWTH AND PRESENT COMPOSITION OF EXPORTS FROM NIGERIA AND THE GOLD COAST

The rapid growth in volume of the principal West African exports is shown in Table 11.

With the exception of palm produce these exports date from about 1900. Such staples of the present West African export trade as groundnuts and cocoa were either absent from the trade returns fifty years ago, or were of negligible importance. Palm produce, which was by far the most important Nigerian export at the turn of the century, had increased about eightfold by the mid-1930's; nevertheless, despite this remarkable rate of increase, palm produce is now only one of three principal agricultural exports. The phenomenal history of the Gold Coast cocoa industry is well known. The annual value of cocoa exports from West Africa at present is about £80 m. Cocoa in West Africa and rubber in south-east Asia are in a class by themselves, as they are by far the most important cash crops produced by local populations in the Colonial Empire. After several decades of rapid expansion the volume of the principal export crops has been rather erratic since the mid-1930's.


Table 11. Exports of certain commodities from Nigeria and the Gold Coast, 1899-1951
Nigeria
1899-1901 1919-21 1929-31 1935-37 1951
Palm oil (ooo's tons)1480129150150
Palm kernels (ooo's tons)52192255346347
Groundnuts (ooo's tons)--45151242141
Cocoa (ooo's tons)--205391122
Cotton (ooo's tons)--461115
Hides and skins (ooo's tons)--46714
Timber (ooo's tons)27293444394(a)
(a) Estimated from cubic feet
Gold Coast
1899-1901 1909-11 1919-21 1929-31 1935-37 1951
Cocoa (ooo's tons)128145218272230
Timber (£ooo's)701232171041124977

-195-

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