secondary work

"Chambre de Commerce d'Agriculture et d'Industrie de Bamako, 1907-1957"

Source: Anniversary pamphlet (Bamako: Soudan Imprimerie, 1958), 26pp.
in ANFOM library, Br 4598 C
Notes © 2011 by Jim Jones, Ph.D.

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This pamphlet was produced in honor of the 50th anniversary of the oldest commercial organization in Bamako (Mali). The festivites took place on April 19-21, 1958.

The title page explains that the first incarnation of the Chamber was the Councilor Assembly, created by the Arrête Général du 31 Decembre 1906 and officially opened by the French Soudan's Lt. Gov. Clozel on 23 May 1908, the day that the government was officially transferred to Bamako.

(p1) In 1958, Governeur Gipoulin was the Chef du Territoire.

(p4) M. Robert Izaure, président de la Chambre de Commerce d'Agriculture et d'Industrie de Bamako, made a speech which is reprinted in this pamphlet. It recounts the history of the organization.

(p6) On February 3, 1900, the Chamber's predecessor, the Comité consultatif du Commerce du Haut-Sénégal- Niger, was formed. On November 3, 1907, the Comité held its first election and selected ten members for the Assemblée Counselaire. On May 23, 1908, they were officially installed by Lt. Gov. Clozel.

(p7) The Assembly's earliest projects included feasibility studies for cotton and peanut production, marketability of locally produced wool, and ways to increase the rubber harvest. The Assembly also organized a Voie Decauville (narrow gauge railway) for the transport of goods around Bamako.

Between 1911-1913, the government created a Bureau des Douanes (customs office) at Bamako. In the same period, the construction of the Conakry-Niger railroad reached Kououssa on the Upper Niger River in Guinea. Also during this period, the French government reorganized its terriorial administration and separated the Territoire Militaire du Niger from Haut-Sénégal-Niger on December 31, 1912.

In 1914-15, the Assembly produced the first map of the town of Bamako.

(p8) In 1917, the Assembly held its first " Concours de cultures maraïchéres" (wetland farming exposition) which later became the Foire-Exposition. In the next decade, Bamako was designated a Commune-Mixte by the government on January 1, 1919. In the early 1920s (1920-1923), the Assembly directed much energy towards wool processing and rubber, and from 1924-29, it developed standards for the treatment of peanuts and cotton.

(p9) Also during this period, the Chambre contributed to the construction of docks at Bamako, the improvement of the port of Ségou and the dike in the Niger River at San. It also constructed a warehouse near the railroad station in Bamako and established the first accounting course in the colony.

In 1929, the Assembly acquired its own headquarters. It devoted much effort to the promotion of peanut agriculture, as well as the creation of a quasi-governmental organization ( Société de Prévoyance) to create food reserves with which to protect against famine.

The 1930 economic crisis cut the price of peanuts from 18 to 13 livres, the price of leather from 18 to 9, and the price of karité (shea butter) by 48%. The sharp decline in price of cacao in Cote d'Ivoire also had an effect because customers no longer had enough money to buy cattle from the Soudan. In all, the value of Soudanese exports dropped from 75 to 28 million francs.

(p10) On January 28, 1932, the Chambre officially opened its headquarters in Bamako. The local economy continued to suffer, however, and in 1933, the devaluation of the English pound sterling made peanuts from French West Africa (including the Soudan) less competitive. This was a disaster for local business. But that same year, the Chambre sponsored a competition to design a machine that could extract peanuts from their shells (making them less costly to shop to the coast). The competition was won by one of the members, M. Ferré, and the Chambre decided to produce 250 of the machines to be distributed for free in the areas of peanut production.

In 1934, " le régime du Transit International est institué sur le réseau Dakar-Niger" at the demand of the Chambre. This made it easier to ship peanuts to the coast, and the Chambre began the construction of a warehouse at the Port de Commerce in Dakar.

In August 1938, the Chambre d'Agriculture et d'Industrie du Soudan dissolved itself to be replaced by a " section agricole et industrielle" of the Bamako Chamber of Commerce.

(p11) The reformed organization bought a dredge to maintain the shipping channel in the Niger river near Bamako and contributed money to the extension of the road network in town. The yea ended in controversy however, as everyone resigned from the Chambre on October 13, 1938 in order to protest rate increases on the railroad.

From 1939-41, the Chambre constructed a garage and a public scale to weigh vehicles. They also took over the operation of the river ferry.

(p12-14) Izaure concluded his speech with a long list of thank-yous to everyone who had ever served in the Chambre.

(p15) M. N'Douré Hamaciré, Ministre du Commerce, de l'Industrie et des Transports, also made a speech. He noted the difference between Chambers of Commerce in England, where they are private societies, and in France where they are public bodies with both advisory and administrative responsibilities. This explains the variety of functions performed by the Chamber as described by President Izaure in the first speech.

(p17) Hamaciré mentioned the European Common Market as a positive force for the development of an export economy in the Soudan. Then he offered this thought about the French mission civilatrice: " ... vos aïnes sont venus nous apporter un mode de vie, un façon de penser qui nous étaient inconnus et que chaque jour nous faisons davantage nôtre travers nos usages et nôtre propre personalité, car, nous le savons, ce mode de vie, cette façon de penser ont fait des Nations qui sont grandes et fortes." [You (Europeans) brought us a way of life, a manner of thinking that was unknown to us, and each day we take advanage of this new way of living and thinking, because we recognize that it has created great nations.]

(p18) Hamaciré mentioned the administrative decentralization decreed by the French parliament in 1956 with the Loi Cadre and asked that the large commercial firms do the same so that local store managers would not always be required to consult Dakar or Paris. He also asked for the creation of an " Enseignement Commercial Supérieur, une sorte d'école des H.E.C." to permit Africans to learn business management and obtain upper-level positions in the private sector.

(p20) In a speech by M. Ch. Gallenca, président de la Chambre de Commerce, d'Agriculture et d'Industrie de Dakar, Président de la Conférence des Présidents des Assemblees Consulaires de l'AOF, ...
(p21) ... he mentioned the problems and riches of the Soudan, including the railroad that exends the Niger River corridor westward towards the ports of Kaolack and Dakar.

(p26) The last page lists all of the presidents of the Chamber since it was founded. ( Présidents de la Chambre de Commerce d'Agriculture et d'Industrie de Bamako depuis sa fondation)

Name Date sworn in   Name Date sworn in
Sabathie November 3, 1907   Moreau 1927
Guithard January 1, 1910   Vautier 1929
Lestonnat 1911   Guiberteau 1934
Pelofi January 1, 1914   Guiho 1939
Sabathie February 22, 1915   Latreyte January 1, 1942
Lestonnat January 1, 1920   Dulom June 1, 1942
Soucasse January 1, 1924   Izaure March 23, 1946