The main focus in this topic is about development of different economic activities in Africa. The African they used their environment to conduct different activities for economic development. These economic development based on agriculture and technology.

Environment: Is total surroundings of man include man-made and natural features.
Land, water bodies, atmosphere, mountains, hills, Infrastructures i.e buildings, roads, etc.

 Technology: Is the scientific knowledge used to design and make tools. 

Development: Refer to progressive changes from low to high standard of living.


Handcraft industries: These were industries of which man used hands and skills to produce tools and weapons.
Industries-Is the place where raw materials are processed into finished goods eg cotton-cloth

Specialized handcraft industries in Africa.
Salt making industries
Iron working
Copper mining
Gold mining
Pottery making
Spinning and weaving industries
Bark –cloth industries
Canoe making industries

1. Salt making industries 
- These are industries which engaged in production of soil in pre-colonial Africa.
Uses of salt
It is used for adding flavor taste for the food in the kitchen.
It is used for preservation of food like fish and meat.

Methods of obtaining salt
1. From different reeds
Reeds were collected ,dried and burned, the ashes would be filtered while the ashes remain liquid would be evaporated and residue would be used as salt.
Places: - Near Lake Victoria, Kyoga, and Albert, among Baganda and Bahaya tribes and among Mang’anja people near shores of Lake Nyasa.
2. Boiling and evaporating method
Sea or ocean water put into pans and left to evaporate, the salt crystals would be collected and used as salt.
Places: around coastal areas.
3. Salt mining
Salt was mined under neath rocks.
Places: At Taghaza, Bilma around lake Chad in western Sudan.
Near lake Bangwela and river Luapala in central Africa.
4.Water by fire
Spring water containing salt was boiled and finally salt was obtained.
Places with salt; in uvinza salt spring along river malagarasi in central Africa.
Uses of salt.
1. Salt is used as an ingredient in cookery.
2. Food preservation.
3. It is used as medicine i.e. on freshly cut wounds
4. It was used as a medium of exchange (trade exchange).
5. Animal hides were cured using salt before used to make cloth.
6. In Egypt salt was used to preserve a dead body. (mummification )

By the beginning of the 19 th century, most of the African societies were able to produce their own iron. The famous blacksmith in Africa was able to produce their own iron. In Tanzania there were iron deposits in Itewe near chunya, liganga, and Uluguru Mountains.
Nubian of Sudan along the river Nile.
People along Futa djalon and Niger river in West Africa.
The Mang’anja people of Malawi.
The Venda people of northern Transvaal.
The Mashona of Zambia.
There were also deposits in Algeria, Tunisia, morocco, Liberia, Sieraleone Angola, and Zimbabwe.
- In Ethiopia blacksmiths were not allowed to inherit land or even to inter marry with other people.
Uses of iron.
1. Iron was used to make agricultural tools.
2. iron was used to make weapons i.e. spears, swords etc
3. Iron was a medium of exchange, some people used iron bars or hoes as taken when paying bride price i.e. the Sukuma in the northern west Tanganyika.
4. Iron was also a measure of wealth, people who had more iron than others were considered wealthy.
5. Iron was an important trade commodity i.e. Masai traded cattle for iron weapons from the pare and the Kikuyu.
6. Some objects used in religious ceremonies were made of iron i.e. Yoruba and fon made iron objects to honour Ogun (the God of iron and war).

The production and use of copper In pure colonial Africa was wide spread. Pure copper from the earth’s surface. By 300 BC, The Egyptians were already producing cooper. Ibo and Yoruba in Nigeria. Central Kafua River and the Gwai River in Zambia. South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo formerly known as Zaire.
Uses of cooper.
1. It is used to make ornaments such as bangles and earnings for example Ndebele women wore cooper and brass neckless, rings as a symbol of representing their husband’s wealth.
2. Used to make pots, pans and other utensils.
3. Used to make weapons such as daggers and knives.
4. Bars of copper were used as a medium of exchange and measure of value.
5. Copper was used as trade commodity.

Gold was one among the 1 st metals to be used in Africa. It was easy to find gold near the earth’s surface. In most parts of Africa, gold was found in the river bed, gold was obtained by washing gold bearing rocks for example river sabi and river Zambezi. in Ashanti and Gyain in Ghana and Meroe in Sudan.

Uses of gold.
It is used to make various types of ornaments for example rings, earrings, necklace and bracelets (made funery masks for the pharaohs in Egypt).
Gold used to make weapons for example knives, handles especially for important rulers.
Gold was used in making utensils such as plates, cups and spoons for the rich.
In Egypt gold was used to make coins.
Gold was an important trade commodity, in East Africa the town of kilwa became prosperous due to gold trade.
Gold was used as a currency as well as measure of wealth.
Rich people used gold to decorate buildings.
Other hand craft industries

Pottery was practiced in areas where there was clay soil. Famous people where; Akamba, kisii, Batwa, Gisu and Pare.
Advantage of pottery.
1. Enables communities to make containers for cooking food.
2. Produced containers for storing water, milk, beer and grains.
3. Pottery produce items or goods for trade for example massai exchange cattle for pottery.
4. Pottery containers were used for serving food and drinks at homes.

Some people were skilled n making various items by weaving. The required raw materials included grasses, leaves and fibers. In East Africa the Lou were experts in basketry and Nyakyusa were experts in making mats.
Advantages of weaving and basketry.
1. Some communities built houses and boats.
2. Supplied communities with items such as beds and mats.
3. Provided items for trade.
4. Provided containers to carry loads easily, for example Kikuyu and Kamba(Kenyans).
5. Woven fish troops and nets.
6. Provided storage for agricultural produce.

Textile production is the making of cloth from different materials. Bark cloth was made from tree barks among the Nyakyusa, Buhaya and Buganda. Silk production was mainly in Nigeria and Madagascar.
Wool obtained from sheep, goat, and camel. Cotton was mainly grown by the Yoruba in Nigeria and in Guinea. A among the Fipa, items were made textile including prepared blankets, carpets and clothes.

Agriculture is the domestication of plants and animals. Agriculture began over 10000 years ago. In Africa agriculture began in the Nile valley in Egypt around 7000 B.C
Factors that contributed to the beginning of agriculture.
1. There were plants and animals.
2. Increase of human population, natural environment could not provide adequate food.
3. Changes of climate i.e. drought or occurrence of drought.
4. Competition for food between the humans and the animals.
5. People searched for goods far away from their homes.
There were mainly three types of agriculture practiced in ancient Africa:
1. Pastoralism
2. Crop cultivation
3. Mixed farming

Crop cultivation.
 Different types of crops were grown in various regions of Africa depending on the natural resources.
Crop cultivation was divided into two
1. Shifting cultivation
2. Permanent cultivation

Shifting cultivation
In this system land was cultivated and planted for sometime for example about three years, then the farmers would shift their farming activities to a new area. This farming practice was to allow the land to regain its fertility and control diseases and pests. In Africa shifting cultivation was common in the central, western and southern Tanzania (miombo wood land) and Eastern Kenya). This system was possible where the area was low populated (moderate climate/average amount of rainfall), soil was light and fertility was easily hausted.

Permanent crop cultivation.
Permanent crop cultivation was adopted in areas or regions with dense population. There was no extra land to move to availability of rainfall, also irrigation, terracing and fertilizers(manure) were applied. Examples of these areas where permanent cultivation was carried out include the following:
1. Egypt.
2. Cambrai region in the north eastern Togo.
3. Among the Chaggas on the slopes of mountain Kilimanjaro.
4. The Lozi of Zambia.
5. The Akamba of Kenya.
6. Slopes of mountain Meru, southern highland of Tanzania and central Kenyan highland.
7. Indian Ocean coastaline, North west of Lake Victoria.

2. Mixed farming.
This was kind of agriculture which includes crop cultivation and animal keeping, mainly in glass land areas with seasonal rainfall
The glass land areas were goods for growing crops and postures for animals
-The crops grown was such as
Sorgham Maize Cassava Beans Millet
-Animals kept were:-
Goats Donkey Cattles Horses Sheeps
-This kind of agriculture was common among the Waha, Nyamwezi,Fipa,Hehe,Kikuyu etc

Pastoralism is the practice of keeping livestock such as cattle, sheep, camels and goats. One important factor in the spread of pastoralism in Africa was the presence or absence of the tsetsefly.These flies caused sleeping sickness to human and trypasonomiasis to domestic animals.The pastoralist avoided tsetsefly infected areas especially in the moist low-lying valleys and thick forest regions.Examples of pastrolists in Africa are:
The Fulani of west Africa
The Gaua and Somali of North-East Africa
Masai of East Africa
Barabaig, Karamajong of East Africa
There are two types of pastoralism
1. Nomadic pastoralism
2. Sedentary pastoralism

Nomadic pastoralisim.
Is the seasonal movement of people with their livestock in search of water and pastures. Many nomadic pastoralists lived on meat, milk and blood. They occupy the scrub land and the savannah regions. Those areas get little rain fall.
examples of nomadic pastoralists include:
The Fulani
The Barbeigr
The Omomo
The karamajong
The maasai.

Sedentary pastoralism.
Sedentary means staying or living in the same area. Sedentary pastrolists did not move from place to place. Examples are the agriculturalist maasai (kwavi), the animals kept by such communities are fewer than those kept by nomadic pastoralists.
How agriculture changed man’s life.
1. It led to the production of more food in these societies.
2. Agriculture forced people to settle down in one place.
3. It encouraged social and political organizations.
4. It led to the expansion of exchange trade due to surplus.
5. It encouraged specialization of work in the society, for example people begun to practice medicine, priestly duties and different crafts.
6. Some people became wealthier than others in the society due to the presence of more land and animals.
7. The agriculturists were forced to come up with new religions that could save their animals or livestock, For example new Gods.
8. Agriculture led to the introduction of science and technology. For example in Egypt, there was need for irrigation.

Trade is the process of buying and selling of goods and services between people. There was need to trade in order to get all things needed by the communities. Trade tends to develop in any society where there is surplus production.
1. Barter trade is the exchange of goods for goods, for example exchange of pots for goats or maize.
2. A currency method of trade is where money is used. In pre-colonial Africa iron, hoes, rolls of cloth, copper rods, salt and gold were used as money.

Refers to the kind of trade which is conducted within the same geographical area.
In local trade goods are exchanged between people living in the same geographical area, such as a town or village. Local trade was not for profit making but just to obtain essential goods. i.e. pastoral communities like the Maasai needed vegetables and grains from cultivators like the Nyakyusa and the Chaga.
Impacts of local trade.
1. Local trade united people within the same area.
2. Communities obtained goods such as tools, weapons, food stuffs and medical herbs.
3. Transport routes were improved.
4. Some important market centers emerged along the market routes.
5. Local trade encouraged communities to expand production.

Regional trade refers to trade conducted from one region to another (Trade conducted between two different geographical regions). Regional trade involved a wider variety of goods compared to local trade. It was not for profit making. For example regional trade were Trans Sahara trade, Long distance trade of East Africa and Central Africa. Regional trade in the pre-colonial Africa took place in 19 th century.
THE KAMBA. The Kamba were leading the long distance trade through northen route in the 19 th century. They Kamba caravan brought ivory, guns, hides and beeswax from the interior. From the Coast they obtained cloth, salt, copper, cowrie’s shells and jewellery.
THE YAO. The Yao traders got beads and cloth from Kilwa. They also captured and sold slaves from neighbouring communities, Yao chiefs such as Mpanda, Mataka, Machemba and Mtalika dominated the Southern route during the long distance trade.
THE NYAMWEZI. The Nyamwezi dominated the central routeconducted trade between the interior of Tanganyika and the coast. The Nyamwezi sold slaves and ivory, hide rhinoceros horn.

 Nyamwezi traders succeeded because of the following reasons.
1. The Nyamwezi leaders such as the Msirikazi, Nyungu ya Mawe and Mirambo supported the trade.
2. Nyamwezi were centrally placed on the route to the coast.
3. High demand for trade items such as ivory and slaves.
4. There was existence of variety of trade items such as ivory and gold.
5. Zanzibar needed slaves and ivory in the 1800 AD.
By the 1830 AD there were three main trade routes i.e.
1. The Southern route: controlled by Yao.
2. The Central route: controlled by the Nyamwezi.
3. The Northern route: controlled by the Kamba traders from the coast brought cloth, beads, wire and guns.
-from interior goods were ivory and slaves.

Impacts/ effects of regional trade.
Positive consequences/impacts.
1. Some traders became very rich.e.g Mirambo and Isike.
2. The communities were able to obtain new commodities e.g guns, clothes, beads, ivory, etc.
3. The rise of trade centers such as Saadans, Pangani, Bagamoyo, Tabora,Ujiji, Voi, and Taveta.
4. The rise of trade routes.
5. The rise of powerful Empires/Kingdoms such as Nyamwezi.
6. New food crops such as maize, rice and cassava were introduced.
7. Spread of Islam by the Arabs to the interior Tabora and Ujiji.

Negative impacts.
1. The rise of inter-tribal wars in Oder to get slaves.
2. Many elephants were killed as there was high demand of Ivory.
3. It led to depopulation and under development in some areas.
4. Slave raids caused insecurity and loss of innocent lives.
5. Foreigners used trade routes to reach to the interior.
6. Exploitation of African wealth by Europeans and Asians.
 7. Decline of local industries in Africa.


Long distance trade was the trade  carried out long distance as people/traders had to move for long distance going on exchanging goods with other societies and the major aim was to get profit for example a salt traders was exchanged salt foe hoes not because he wanted to use hoes but he wanted re sell them at a profit later. 
The following is an example of long distance trade. 

Trans Sahara trade was the trade conducted across the Sahara desert. It involved the people of Northern Africa and the people of Western Sudan. This trade started long time ago between 3000BC to 2000BC. It became important in the 1 st century AD after the people of West Africa to discover the use of camel and led to formation of many trade routes. The Trans Saharan trade was known as dumb trade because there was no common language which was used.
People who involved in the trade
1. West Africa
2. North Africa
3. Savannah Region

People (traders) organized themselves in groups known as CARAVANS
Goods involved in the trade
Kola nuts, gold, salt, food stuffs, Ivory, clothes, gold, bee-wax, slaves and ostrich feathers goods from West. And from North Africa salt and animal skin. Goods from Europe and Asia were cotton and silk cloth, swords, guns, metal pans, horses and Arabic books.
Trade routes :
1. Western route- From Sijilmasa, Fez in Morocco passed through Taghaza, Taodeni, Walata, Audaghost, and Kumbi Saleh to Timbuktu.
2. Central route- This passed Tunis, Ghat, Ghamese, Kano, Gao and Hausa land.
3. Eastern route- This began in Tripol, Marzul and Bilma.

The following are some of the factors that contributed to the growth of the Trans Saharan trade:
(i) Stability of the communities: Both North African and Western Sudan zone were politically stable. For example leaders like Sundiata Keita and Mansa Musa collected taxes and established guides on trade routes. This enabled the people to conduct trade without fear. Up to the end of the 15th century AD many traders were motivated to come to Western Sudan for trade.
(ii) Western Sudan provided goods needed by traders from Europe. These goods included gold, ivory and slaves. Through trading Western Sudan exchanged her own commodities with goods from Western Europe and Asia. In turn, she got clothes, guns and other commodities. The surplus production in Western Sudan was adequate to sustain demand for products such as kolanuts and gold, hides, ivory slaves, whereas Taghaza produced enough salt to meet the needs in Western Sudan. The high production capacity in the region enhanced the growth of the Trans Saharan trade.
(iii) Honesty: The Berbers of North Africa and the African traders of Western Africa trusted each other. Traders brought in commodities without fear of theft and robbery, enabling the trade to flourish.
(iv) The use of camels for transport suited the desert conditions and facilitated the development of the Trans-saharan trade. These animals could not only carry more commodities than horses and human porters, but also endured desert conditions. Camels can survive without water for a longtime. This convenient means of transport strengthened the development of the Trans-saharan trade.
(v) Geographical location of the region: The location and climate favoured the production of kola nuts and other foodstuffs that were needed in the community, especially the forest region to the south. The region of Western Sudan had no impassable forests because many areas were covered by short grassland. This enabled traders to cross the desert without fear or any difficulty.
(vi) The invention of a medium of exchange contributed to the growth of the Trans Saharan trade. At the beginning, only the silent barter system of trade was practised. Later on, cowrie shells were introduced as a convenient medium of exchange. This in turn facilitated the development of the Trans-saharan trade.
(vii)From the nothern part,the Berbers provided capital to many traders who used to cross the sahara desert.
(viii)Removal of language barrier: This was attained after Arabic language became the trader’s medium of communication. This in turn facilitated the trade by making communication between the traders easy.
(ix) Absence of competition for trading activities in the region: There were no regular ships that visited the coast of West Africa. As a result, what was produced from the forest zone was peacefully transported to North Africa through the Saharan desert.
(x) Scarcity of commodities like gold and salt.
(xi )Introduction of horses, which were used in conquest and expansion.

Effects of the Trans Saharan Trade in Africa.
1. It led to the growth of empires like Ghana, Mali etc
2. It increased development of Agriculture.
3. It led to the introduction of Arabic Islamic religion cultures.
4. Formation of mixed races example half cast
5. Growth of town and cities eg Jenne, Timbukutu, Gao and Walata.

By the second half of the nineteenth century, the volume of Trans-saharan trade started to decline. A number of obstacles or problems have been identified to explain the decline. These are:-
i) Strong desert winds: The traders could not withstand the hazards of sand storms. Many abandoned the trade as a result.
ii) Traders faced the danger of getting lost in the desert because the routes were not clear. Once traders got lost, they would wander in the desert for a long time and eventually die of thirst and starvation.
iii) Traders were subjected to attacks by desert robbers who made their living by stealing from trade caravans. In the process, traders lost their lives and goods. This discouraged traders from participating effectively in the trade.
iv)The extreme climatic conditions were unfavourable to traders. The heat and high temperatures during the day and every low temperatures at night due to the absence of cloud cover discouraged traders.
v) Traders faced the danger of highly poisonous desert creatures whose bites could result in death. These included snakes and scorpions.
vi) Traders faced language difficulties. This hampered communication during trade. As such “silent trade” had to be used initially.
vii) The development of the Trans-Atlantic rout across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe: commodities like ivory and slaves were transported quickly to the coast of West Africa from where they wer transported to Europe. Thus the trade routes shifted from the Saharan desert to the Atlantic. Instead of the direct route to the North, they went via the coast of West Africa.
viii) Commodities obtained from Western Sudan such as salt and gold faced competition from similar goods from other America cheaply. As result, the volume of Trans-saharan trade decreased because Western Sudan could no longer clain a monopoly in production of certain commodities like salt and gold. Also gold from Zimbabwe via Sofala port by the Portuguese ended up in Europe.
ix) The abolition of slave trade contributed to the decline of the Trans-saharan trade. Slaves were the main item of trade. When slave trade was abolished, trade started to decline.
x) Shortage of water also led to the decline in trade. The oases in the Saharan desert provided water seasonally but they sometimes dried up. This made it difficult for the traders to cross the Saharan desert.
xi) Wars: The war in Morocco and the one between Christians and Muslims disrupted the smooth running of the trade. The Moroccan invasion of western Sudan in 1591 AD disturbed the growth of the trade by taking gold at Wangara.

Finally, the Trans-saharan trade collapsed in the 16th century. From this period onwards, west Africa witnessed the expansion of European occupation on the coast of West Africa.

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