ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Gujarati Business Communities in East Africa

While the success of the enterprising Gujarati business communities in striking up trade and other commercial deals in 19th century colonial East Africa is well-accounted for, the stories of those who failed have been largely forgotten. But an archival reading of their accounts, as attempted by this paper, reveals that these failure stories belonged to those who eked out a living as small-time traders and petty shopkeepers. Obligations to their tight-knit communities, family responsibilities and the absence of wider assistance networks often drove them to bankruptcy; others succumbed in the initial risk period of an enterprise's existence. The success stories, in contrast, were those who were able to circumvent these risks.

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