Reconstructing Modern African Business History
This chapter examines the methods and sources of African business history or the history of African business activities on the continent, focusing on the post-colonial period. It also examines three methodological approaches in reconstructing modern African business history: biographies, sector approach, and company histories. Reconstructing book-length biographies of individual African entrepreneurs or collective biographies of African businesspeople presents several challenges. These concern primarily the quantity and quality of business data, particularly those on financial statistics. The chapter discusses primary and secondary sources for reconstructing African business history. The discussion includes oral interviews, business records, newspapers, and magazines. The business magazines provide a wealth of data on African economies in key areas like commerce, telecommunications, information technology, industry, transport, mining, agriculture, and energy. The business histories of African women cover a wide range of issues, including gender division of labor, trade and distribution, marriage, class formation, family change, and female empowerment.