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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Ethiopian railway and British finance capital, 1896-1902
Author:Bekele, Shiferaw
Year:1991
Periodical:Africa: rivista trimestrale di studi e documentazione
Volume:46
Issue:3
Pages:351-374
Language:English
Geographic term:Ethiopia
Subjects:rail transport
history
1890-1899
1900-1909
Abstract:The 'Compagnie impériale des chemins de fer éthiopiens' was constituted as a private company on 7 August 1896. Its object was to construct and exploit a railway line from Djibouti into Ethiopia. It obtained a preliminary authorization from the French government on 27 April 1896 for the section of the line through the territory of French Somaliland, the present Republic of Djibouti. Construction work started in October 1897, but Dire Dawa in Ethiopia was not reached until December 1902. This paper explains the financial debacle of the railway, paying attention to such factors as the underestimation of the total cost of construction, delays in the construction itself, the lack of initial capital, the revolt of the Issas, the role of the French State, and British-French rivalries. It argues that manoeuvres on the part of British financiers to bring the company under their control were ultimately responsible for the delay in the construction of the line. On the other hand, this abortive British takeover attempt and Anglo-French rivalry in the end prevented French capital from taking over Ethiopia in the same way as, for instance, Morocco. Notes, ref., sum. in French and Italian.
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