April 11th, 2018
We are now working on a paper on colonial institutions, wage inequality and the human capital conformation in the port of Dakar during the first half of the 20th century. We have identified 56 job categories (with their respective ranks) for African workers. This paper -to be presented under a preliminary form in the World Economic History Congress, Boston 2018- aims to analyze the wage distribution by job categories studying the existent differences among European and African workers hired in similar categories. Thus, we aim to quantify the relative salary overcost generated by the European staff and chiefly promoted by the colonial allowances.
December 19th, 2017
This year is ending and we could say that it has been a great year in terms of research and training. Since October, I´ve made some short stays at Senegal and France, participating in some scientific and academic events. A milestone has been the organization of the Vth International Colloquium of the Governance of the Atlantic Ports at Las Palmas. It was a little bit stressing but finally, the experience was absolutely completed in terms of training and the improvement of management skills. Moreover, a number of projects are now under preparation (both at the national and international level) and the next year is expected to be at least so exciting like this. It will be a year of changes where my contract at the University of Las Palmas will expire. Some cards are over the table and the key one is the Marie Curie IF proposal. We´ll know what is going to happened by February...14th! What a Saint Valentine´s day! So, the journey will go on!
Telde, July 31 2017
It´s time for holidays! We are going to Aix-en-Provence for two weeks to make some research tasks in the Overseas Archives and then...the second half of the month will be for rest and simply enjoying because the last part of this year will be really exciting!
See you in September!
Telde, May 29 2017
We keep on working on the African Ports Historical Database. Figures for recent periods could be almost completed by the next months, thanks to a research-work to locate very sparse statistical information from a number of African countries and port national agencies. We expect to present some preliminar works in the next months. However we are very excited with the quality of the statistical body we expect will be useful for scholar and people interested on these issues.
Telde, January 12th 2017
An example of how mechanization of cargo handling and the introduction of liquid fuels affected the port efficiency and in the other hand, the lost of jobs among dockers (coaling) in the port of Dakar (1930). We are now working on the long-term institutional and technical evolution of port-labour organization in Dakar.
Nantes, October 18th 2016
We are now completing our short research stay in Nantes (just moving to UK!) and we could affirm that the sources compiled will be very useful for us. We are studying the share of international stakeholders that invested important sums for port reform (1960s-1970s) in a number of African countries. A key factor is the establishment of loan conditions accorded between the African governments and the international markets. For instance, we have observed that the European Development Fund proportionated low interest loans (0.50-0.75%) but the average of loans funded by private capitals was around 5.0-7.0% for a mortgage period around 30-50 years. In this case, we show a singular example of investment conditions from Arab capitals for the reform of the port of Motsamudu (Comoros Islands). The low interest rates signed by investers funds from Kuwait or Dubai contrast with the relatively high interest rate proposed by the African Bank for Development. We have collected an important amount of souces for the African countries that experienced important financial troubles to rembourse these loans after oil-shocks from the 1970 decade and the adverse economic and institutional conditions during the 1980s.
Nantes, October 10, 2016
I´ve started working in the French Diplomatic Archives for ten days. I hope new sources on a number of African maritime regions will appear...Then, I will move to the University of Sussex in order to participate in the African Economic History Network Workshop, where I will present a paper on the consequences of the first Suez Crisis in West Africa. After the nice results presented in the last-week Congress at Lorient, I expect comments and suggestions from the African Economic History specialists.
Telde, September 29, 2016
The first port reform reached the Gold Coast in the late 1900 decade. Ports of Accra and Sekondi introduced a number of technical improvements which promoted the commercial expansion (mining sector and cash-crop productions) and the increase of public revenues by taxes on trade and railways. By 1910, the port of Accra was far to be a first-rate port such as Dakar but it permitted the consolidation of the colonial extroverted economic structure that expanded during the WWI postwar.
Telde, 19th September, 2016
The first crisis of Suez (1956-57) deeply impacted on the West African port system, mainly on the stopover ports of Las Palmas and Dakar. Both ports must adapt their infrastructures and port communities to the demand of vessels calling port from the Cape Route. Now, we are exploring this issue. We are interested on the way how the port of Dakar reacted to these challenges in a number of topics: bunkering services, space at berths, sanitary measures, etc. We will expose some preliminary outputs in the next Conferences of Lorient and Sussex (October 2016).
Telde, 1st September 2016.
Seaborne freights in Africa hampered the development of the external trade. For landlock countries, surcharges on transport costs were (are) obstacles to social development. The historical analysis of the seaborne trade in Africa aims to obtain accurate answers related to the continuity and rupture processes after the colonial Age in terms of maritime flows, port evolution and the evolution of regional economic structure. In the next Conference of the African Economic History Network (Sussex, October 2016), we will provide some preliminar outputs of our research.
Telde, July 28th 2016
The World Crisis of 1967-1975 was opened by the Closure of the Suez Canal and the first stages of the Second Globalization where a truly shipping revolution was developed. The peripheral role of the African continent and the way how the maritime regions were adapted to these structural changes aggravated its complex economic situation. Thus, we could argue that a renewal (under)development trap affected the continent. The output of this process was an increased external dependency in the next decade. We will go further on these topics in the next months....
I´m exploring sources from UNCTAD on seaborne trade from 1968 onwards in order to complete sources on the African maritime networks in historical perspective. We observe the African contribution on shipping industry. Obviously, Liberia occupied the first position (19% of the World Flag between 1968 and 1973). The other 26-29 African countries summed 0.44-0.55 percent of the World Shipping register. Somalia occupied the first quartile (25#) in 1973 benefited by his free flag status (I did not know that and I was impressed!). What we could argue about the revenues obtained from the flag register in Liberia and how it affected the economic growth in terms of GDP per capita? So, rythms of modernization of shipping industry and the way how African ports adapted are topics we are developing and they could offer interesting outputs on the evolution of the seaborne trade in African in the last decades.
May-June 2016, Dakar.
Next weeks, we will be working in Dakar in order to collect sources for the project. We will explore some archival institutions such as ANS, IFAN or the UCAD Library. On the other hand, thanks to my colleague Moussa Wélé (UCAD) and the invitation of the ETHOS Laboratory, we will establish some interviews with retired dockers comparing changes on port labour since the 1960s decade. The goal is to increase our database about the events of Suez (1956-1967) to prepare some papers for the next conferences (Lorient, Sussex). Finally, we aim to prepare a paper on comparative port labour evolution in Dakar and Las Palmas as soon as possible.
December 13th, 2015, Nantes.
French Diplomatic Archives
I´ve been the last weeks in the French Diplomatic Archives of Nantes. It is an impressive Archive where we could find the consular files (letters, year reports, statistiques, press, etc.) around the World. Until Christmas, we will be working on the sources for the Canary Islands, Morocco, Senegal and other West African Countries. Thanks to that, it is now possible to help to reconstruct the regional economic History tied to the port-cities. It must be remarked the important sources on port modernization since 1960, mainly on containerization and port reform. Moreover, I must note the impressive sources for the First World War in West Africa, mainly for the Canary Islands. At this moment, I´ve collected more than 3,000 documents that have being organised to be used in further researches. So, this stay at France (Lorient, La Rochelle, Nantes) that began in november 2015 has been absolutely interesting respect to research but for teaching topics too. Hence, I will require a little "break" for Christmas with Ana, my relatives and my friends. Then, the next closest objectives for the first half of 2016 will be: 1) To conclude the paper with Professor Valdaliso on the Spanish Port System in the long run. 2) prepare the Workshop in Paris where I will present a paper with Cesar Ducruet and the. 3) Organize the Erasmus+ stay in the Panestean University in Chios (Greece). So, we will meet in January! Best wishes for 2016! I will wish you a year full of health and happiness!
The research agenda continues...
The next scientific events are in the focus of our research agenda. We must prepare the next Conferences (El Ferrol and Wageningen) and the Research Stay at the French Universities of Lorient, La Rochelle et Nantes. The last months of 2015 will be very interesting and I hope it would be very productive in academic and scientific terms.
African Ports and Economic (under)Development (1839-1939)
We are working hard in order to complete our databases about african Port Activity during the colonial period and the way how this activity have impacted on the regional economies. We are exploring -mainly- French sources such as the Annuaires Statistiques where we could find a vaste range of information: commercial activity, mining production, commodities, maritime activity, etc.