Chemin de fer, Exploitation de la Vallée du Niger
|© 1999 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.|
|Go to Table of Contents||Read Disclaimer|
This letter refers to the "plan Fock" of December 31, 1930 to develop the Chemin de Fer Mediterranée-Niger without any cost to the government. The government had calculated that a budget of 3 billion francs, spread out over a ten-year period, would be necessary to complete the railroad across the Sahara Desert, but Fock thought that it could be done with revenue earned while developing the Middle Niger Delta at the same time. His plan was based on "des études poursuivis depuis 40 ans et un documentation fort étendue, ainsi que sur des estimations précises" (forty years of studies, extensive documentation, and precise estimates).
This letter lists all of the reasons why the Société d'Iniative Transafricaine's "plan Fock" was not a good idea. The SITA expected the Credit Agricole de l'AOF to finance all of the work and be repaid after 15 years by the Société de Prevoyances. (SITA referred to "Associations Syndicales Indigènes" who would provide the actual repayment) SITA expected to receive 50% of all harvests in exchange for providing management and technicians. The letter concluded that "On peut conclure au total que les indigènes, soumis à une sorte de servage agricole, seraient réduits, pendant 15 ans, au seul avantage de servir de manoeuvres à une Société dont leur travail serait le plus clair des resources." (At the end of 15 years, Africans would end up reimbursing a company whose only clear asset was their own labor.)
NOTE: T.S.F. is the abbreviation for "Telegraphie Sans Fil" (i.e. wireless telegraph).