chapter  1
1 Pages


This study began as an inquiry into the structure of West African external trade with special reference to monopolistic tendencies. 12s it is generally interpreted, a study of the structure of trade involves an inquiry into the role of different classes of trading intermediary, the quantitative significance of each class, and the shares of the trade handled by one or more of the largest firms. \$'here the emphasis is on monopolistic tendencies, the share of trade handled by large firms and by groups of firms acting together deserves special attention; in addition, the nature and effects of various marketing practices which influence the extent of concentration also requirc more detailed investigation. Some of these topics have been prominent in the emphatic and acrimonious, t h o u ~ h generally imprecise and uncritical, discussions on West African trade in recent decades.