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Traders were among the first Europeans to visit the interior and coastal areas of Africa. They came under the influence of capitalists who also supported missionaries and explorers.

Their main aim was to exploit the new sources of raw materials, markets and new areas in which industrial capitalists had to invest their capital. Examples of traders are William Macknnon, James Stevenson, Harry Johnston and Carl Peters. The following are the role played by traders of industrial capitalism in preparing Africa for colonisation;-

1. They opened a new a exploitative system: Therefore, Africa became the target for European interests. This resulted in stiff rivalries and competition among European industrial nations.

2. Introduction of circuit through legitimate trade: Thisinvolved the importation of European manufactured goods. Thus, the chain of dependence was created and the African local industries and the arts were destroyed.

3. Traders exposed Africa to the world capitalist system of economy: The use of currency, banking and credit facilities began to be witnessed by Africans. This resulted into exploitation of African resources. The fair and quick turns obtained by traders attracted European colonialists to come into Africa.

4. They opened communication systems such as roads:This laid the foundation for future colonial infrastructure. For example, the road from Lake Nyasa to Tanganyika known as Livingstone road was opened by traders and was used during the colonial administration.

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