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"Rubber will not keep in this country": Failed development in Benin, 1897-1921

Fenske, James (2010): "Rubber will not keep in this country": Failed development in Benin, 1897-1921.

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Abstract

Nigeria's Benin region was a major rubber producer in 1960. In 1921, however, the government abandoned the industry as a failure. I explain why rubber did not take hold before 1921. British conquest was motivated in part by the region's wild rubber resources. The government was unable to protect Benin's rubber forests from over-exploitation. Expatriate firms were reticent to invest in plantations, and private African plantations remained small. The colonial government promoted the development of ``communal'' plantations, but these suffered from labor scarcity, a weak state, limited information, and global competition.

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