By Terence McNamee, Mark Pearson, Wiebe Boer (eds.)
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Extra info for Africans Investing in Africa: Understanding Business and Trade, Sector by Sector
In the polities where the Wangara established trading communities and supply chains, they designated Wangara merchants and trade consuls to lobby the host political establishment. This lobbying activity was instrumental in securing trade, getting a set of uniform trade rules enforced and opening up new markets. This strategy of the Wangara is particularly relevant today, since today’s African investor has more rigidly defined political entities to appease and boundaries to negotiate in embarking on regional commercial expansion and regional investments.
Few Africans managed to become the Bill Gates or Warren Buffet of their countries after decolonisation, and no wonder: success would immediately have attracted the covetous attention of the political elite. Therefore, the choice was between giving up one’s grand ambitions or being co-opted into the system. The prospects for making a fortune without controlling the state’s lever of powers, or having privileged access to those who controlled them, were slim. Many businessmen concluded that it was safer to pretend to stay small and hide whatever successes they could achieve.
To further isolate the Wangara, the Portuguese and British began to trade internally within West 18 Moses E. Ochonu Africa, using their naval skills to navigate West Africa’s ocean shorelines and rivers, buying gold and kola from one area and selling them in other areas, a much faster transportation process than the method of mobility employed by the Wangara. 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.
Africans Investing in Africa: Understanding Business and Trade, Sector by Sector by Terence McNamee, Mark Pearson, Wiebe Boer (eds.)