Scholarship in African economic history has been dominated by a wave of revisionism lately. The degree of African indebtedness, the imperatives of loan repayment, and the long-term implications of ongoing political and economic changes, all make such a revision exigent indeed. Focusing on the Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria, this paper produces new evidence to reinterpret and redefine African precolonial financial institutions. The paper has two main parts. Part 1 focuses on the introduction of cowrie currency into Yorubaland and its impact on social stratification. Part 2 examines ajo, the savings institution, esusu, the rotating savings and credit associations (roscas), and the process of capital formation and accumulation among the Yoruba.
Adebayo, A. G. (1994). Money, credit, and banking in precolonial Africa. The Yoruba experience. Anthropos, 89(4/6), pp. 379-400.