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African Entrepreneurship
Muslim Fula Merchants in Sierra Leone

By Alusine Jalloh

Between 1961 and 1978, Muslim Fula immigrants from different West African countries became one of the most successful mercantile groups in Freetown, the capital city of Sierra Leone. African Entrepreneurship, published by Ohio University Press on December 31, 1999, examines the commercial activities of Fula immigrants and their offspring in Sierra Leone. Author Alusine Jalloh explores the role of Islam in Fula commercial organizations and social relationships, as well as the connection between Fula merchants and politics.

Departing from the prevailing scholarship, Jalloh characterizes the Fula businesses as independent, rather than appendages of Western expatriate commerce. In addition to establishing successful businesses, Fula merchants established Islamic educational institutions for propogating the Muslim faith and promoting Islamic scholarship.

This study also examines the evolution of Fula chieftaincy from the colonial era to the postcolonial period and documents the importance of mercantile wealth and networks in the election of Fula chiefs in Freetown. African Entrepreneurship makes an important contribution to the understudied role of African business in Sierra Leone.

Alusine Jalloh is associate professor of history and founding director of The Africa Program at The University of Texas at Arlington. He is co-editor of Islam and Trade in Sierra Leone and The African Diaspora.   More info →

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