anm document

Rapports Commerciales du Cercle de Gao (1914-1919)
in ANM 1 Q 59 fonds anciens

© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

Go to Table of Contents Read Disclaimer

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (1st quarter, 1914)

European merchants brought 40 tons of millet from Ségou to sell in Gao, while Hausas took cattle to Nigeria. M. Grandjean obtained 20 tons of millet from various river stations while M. Tourneux brought another 20 tons. Deves et Chaumet bought it all and resold it at 500 francs/ton. There was no rice available.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (2nd quarter, 1914)

The Niger River was low, preventing the grain trade from operating. Deves et Chaumet and the Société Moyen Niger were unable to import grain, so their sales were limited to existing stocks of beads and cloth. There were no other European merchants in Gao.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (3rd quarter, 1914)

All trade was nearly zero. Deves et Chaumet closed up because their representative, M. Nord, was drafted. The Société Moyen Niger was still open, but had no merchandise. There was no grain to trade, and even the Hausas didn't come to buy cattle.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (4th quarter, 1914)

Trade resumed slightly in November 1914 after the grain harvest was completed. There were also some sheep sales.

African merchants received European cloth from Kayes by means of the parcel post service (colis postaux), which was cheaper than sending it by river barge. Two European merchants, Mercier and Grandjean, traded guinée cloth for produce.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (1st quarter, 1915)

European trade was nil. The Société Moyen Niger imported a few things - wine, liquor, champagne and aperatifs. Deves et Chaumet sent Africans to Timbuktu to purchase European goods because they were unwilling to accept the transport risks.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (4th quarter, 1915)

The problems in Gourma cut communications to the south, stopping all trade via Dori. A single European merchant sold cloth imported by parcel postal. Animal shipments came to a halt.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (2nd quarter, 1916)

There was almost no trade. Nearly all of the grain harvest was requisitioned by the government, and the last European merchant had enlisted into the military.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (3rd quarter, 1916)

Trade was nil. An epidemic of epizootie stopped animal exports.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (2nd quarter, 1917)

The quarantine on the animal trade ended in May 1917.

"Renseignement sur les Européens ou assimilés établis ou venant s'établir dans le cercle ou le poste" (4th quarter, 1917)

There were no Europeans in Gao, but one Syrian merchant, Hattien Assef.

Bulletin Commerciale, 1st quarter, 1918)

The trade in wool and skins was active. Other trade was down because the price of European goods had increased so much.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (2nd quarter, 1919)

These are figures for the amount of several export items (in tons) to various destinations from the Cercle de Gao:

Item Cercle de Timbuktu Région du Hoggar Région du
Adrar des Iforhas
Région Oulliminden Total tons
paddy raw rice 300 30 70 225 645 90
rice 600 30 65 50 745 200
millet 120 5 10 80 215 100

Prices in the Gao market:

Item price
kola 100-200/1000
rice 225 francs/ton
sheep 5-17 francs/each
gomme 600 francs/ton
millet 150 francs/ton
wool 1250 francs/ton

Mercier was still in Gao, but did very little business. The Commandant du Cercle de Gao called him a "petit boutiquier" instead of a "commer‡ant" and said that his business suffered from lack of capital and lack of initiative.

"Rapport Commerciale du Cercle de Gao" (3rd quarter, 1919)

Trade resumed somewhat, but there were still shortages of cloth which served as the medium of exchange for all other trade.