chapter  III
24 Pages


THE importance of the transport factor in West Africa cannot be over-rated. Half the tragedy of Africa, it has been said, lies in the word" transportation." Means of transport are essential to, but that is not all. The advent in West Africa of modern means of communication has brought not only wealth to the natives but liberty, not only new and desirable goods but security from war, slavery and injustice. That was because for centuries the lack of communications had confined the English to the Coast. This lack of communications again arose partially from the policy of keeping inland Africa as a slave preserve. The problem of transport divides itself into two sections, that of internal communication by road, rail, river and lagoon, and that of ports and harbours. The two sections are quite distinct and yet they are intimately connected on account of the great importance of West African external trade. Nor is the system of ocean transport unimportant, but as it is not regional in its scope, it is best treated only so far as it affects the others.