African Commodity Trade Database

The African Commodity Trade Database (ACTD) aims to stimulate and deepen research on African and global economic history. The database provides export and import series at product level for more than two and a half centuries of African trade (1737-2010). The ACTD consists of three main parts which are continuously updated as we retrieve additional sources. Currently data for the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth century is available below. The data from the ACTD is freely available as long as reference is made to: Frankema, Ewout, Jeffrey Williamson and Pieter Woltjer. “An Economic Rationale for the West African Scramble? The Commercial Transition and the Commodity Price Boom of 1835-1885.” The Journal of Economic History 78, no. 1 (2018): 231-267.

Trade database  (latest versions)

Part I – Quantities and official prices, 1737-1808: ACTD_1737t1808_volumes_v1_0

Part II – Prices, quantities and values, 1808-1939: ACTD_1808t1939_database_v1_3 [updated]

Supplemental material

– Notes on the ACTD: ACTD_1808t1939_notes

– British Customs Records, 1697-1808, unprocessed: ACTD_1697t1808_raw_data

Future updates

– Market prices African commodities, 1730-1808

– Coastal prices African commodities French colonies, 1885-1939

– Values and quantities African trade, 1945-2010


The data was collected by the Rural Environment History Group at Wageningen University. For comments and suggestions please send an email to Pieter Woltjer ([email protected]) or Felix Meier zu Selhausen ([email protected])

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