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, E., Williamson, J., & Woltjer, P. (2015). An economic rationale for the african scramble: The commercial transition and the commodity price boom of 1845-1885 (No. w21213). National Bureau of Economic Research.

Trade database  (latest versions)

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

Part II – Values and quantities, 1808-1939: ACTD_1808t1939_database_v1_1

Supplemental material

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

– Terms of trade for West Africa, 1808-1939: ACTD_1808t1939_terms_of_trade_WA

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 the Wageningen University. For comments and suggestions please send an email to Pieter Woltjer ([email protected]).


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