THE TRADE OF AFRICA SOUTH OF THE SAHARA 779. The steamships.— As the coasts of Africa are smooth and straight; with few bays, gulfs, or harbors, it is harder to open trade routes into Africa than into Europe or North America. (Sec. 721.) It is easy for ships to skirt the coast of Africa because there are so few capes, small islands, sand bars, or fogs. Lines of steamers from Liverpool, London, Antwerp, and Marseille carry the goods of Europe and America down the west coast and down the east coast. Some steamers go entirely around the continent. Now the hardestproblem of the ships is to get in touch with the people of the continent, because the steamers must anchor beyond the surf, and put their freight off into small boats. The obstacles within the continent that kept men out of Africa (Sec. 721) are now being conquered. Railroads have been built to carry freight around the cataracts of the Nile, the Kongo, and the Niger, to the steam boats on the level reaches above. There are also steamboats on the great African lakes.
780. Cape to Cairo English have been working many years on the big plan for a railroad from Cairo to Cape Town. The map (Fig. 562) shows that most of the road is built. It will not be long before one can go the whole length of Africa by train, or by trains and boats on lakes and rivers.
Travel on such a route will be slow, hot, and costly, and there will be few through travelers and but little, if any, through freight. The British, however, will be glad to tie together by this railroad their far-extended African territory. The map shows many side lines that have already been built, in whole or in part, from the east coast inland to join this route. The frame-work of an African railway system is already made. Many branch lines are being built and more are needed in this land of enormous distances and poor trans portation.
781. may not be long before the airplane will soar over desert, savannah, forest, river, and lake, and carry passengers and mail from London to Cairo and Cape Town. It has already been used in wars against the natives.
782. The exports.—The first thing in African trade is to wake the native up and make him willing to work for the things which he is in the habit of going without.
Africa has many resources. What will she send to the world? First will be the valuable minerals about which we have already studied. Even the mines of Katanga, far in the heart of Africa (Sec. 759), are already sending several shiploads of pre money, to dress up in good clothes, to listen to music, and to ride in automobile& The trade, once established, will be per manent. The Africans want our things. And is there a reader of this book who does not want African chocolate, or soap made of African palm oil? 784. Future.—Africa, with her hot climate, will continue to produce raw materials to exchange for our manufactures. The pro duction will be largely under charge of the energetic white man ; but the black man will prosper through helping to produce the raw materials. The prosperity of the black man in the African forests or grass plains helps to make the white man's pros perity in lands where snow flies and bliz zards rage.
cious copper each year to the factories in other lands.
Next in importance are the easy-yielding tree crops: palm oil, coconuts, cacao, and rubber (if the East Indies do not supply all that we need). It is natural for the people to extend these home industries and to begin raising these valuable products instead of gathering them wild from the forest.
Third in value are the products of the pastured plain: hides, wool, and meat.
Last, as the tribesman settles down, will come the products of the more laboriously cultivated annual crops, of which a great start has already been made in peanuts, and a very small start in cotton. Many of these crops are old to Africa, but the native who in the past, with the aid of a hoe or a sharp stick, grew enough to eat in his or her (especially her) little patch of garden, will have to learn new ways of farming before grain can be exported. The white man is teaching these new ways, and also helping to find a market for the product.
783. The imports.—The money that these exports bring to Africa will be spent in buy ing white men's manufactures, such as needles and pins, pocket knives, and even locomotives. The African likes to spend