From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960

E.H.P. Frankema, M. van Waijenburg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

This chapter contrasts and compares the ways different colonial states in West Africa developed local fiscal capacity. We show that per capita revenues were higher in the more commercialised coastal export economies than in remote parts of the interior. We argue that British and French approaches to fiscal expansion differed partly because opportunities to tax trade were lower in French West Africa, where a larger share of the revenues were drawn from direct taxes, usually in combination with mandatory labour services or forced cultivation programmes. The imposition of a federal system in the French-ruled territories created tighter financial ties between the AOF and France than were seen in the British colonies, who enjoyed larger scale advantages in revenue collection based on higher population densities and lower barriers to transport and communication. Despite these differences, all fiscal regimes remained too weak to function as a solid basis for sovereign debt creation by the time of independence. This put the post-colonial states of West Africa in a precarious situation, especially when world market prices for their export commodities dropped in the 1970s, while interest rates on public debt shot up in the 1980s.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationFiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960
Subtitle of host publicationStudies in economic history
EditorsE. Frankema, A. Booth
Place of PublicationLondon
PublisherCambridge University Press
Chapter6
Pages161-192
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)9781108665001
ISBN (Print)9781108494267
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Fingerprint

State formation
Revenue
Fiscal
Coast
Hinterland
West Africa
Tax
Labor
Market price
Communication
Population density
France
Commodities
Sovereign debt
Interest rates
Public debt
World market
Fiscal regimes

Cite this

Frankema, E. H. P., & van Waijenburg, M. (2019). From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960. In E. Frankema, & A. Booth (Eds.), Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960: Studies in economic history (pp. 161-192). London: Cambridge University Press. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108665001.006
Frankema, E.H.P. ; van Waijenburg, M. / From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960. Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960: Studies in economic history. editor / E. Frankema ; A. Booth. London : Cambridge University Press, 2019. pp. 161-192
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Frankema, EHP & van Waijenburg, M 2019, From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960. in E Frankema & A Booth (eds), Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960: Studies in economic history. Cambridge University Press, London, pp. 161-192. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108665001.006

From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960. / Frankema, E.H.P.; van Waijenburg, M.

Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960: Studies in economic history. ed. / E. Frankema; A. Booth. London : Cambridge University Press, 2019. p. 161-192.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Frankema EHP, van Waijenburg M. From coast to hinterland. Fiscal state formation in British and French West Africa, c. 1880-1960. In Frankema E, Booth A, editors, Fiscal Capacity and the Colonial State in Asia and Africa, 1850-1960: Studies in economic history. London: Cambridge University Press. 2019. p. 161-192 https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108665001.006