An economic history of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation, 1895-2004 : land, labour, capital and enterprise
No comprehensive history of the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation (AGC) has been written yet. While this doctorate thesis, due to time and word limit constraints, cannot claim to have achieved this level of completeness it does provide a major contribution towards such a comprehensive history by providing for the first time an academic account of this African-based gold mining firm from 1895 to 2004. The thesis has chronological range: from the firm's incorporation to its demise as an autonomous company. Depth of analysis is reserved for the consideration of important aspects of the four factors of production and how these resources affected the company's fortunes. The thesis will contribute to the business historiography of Africa as well as to our understanding of the history of Ghana with respect to British foreign investment and the development of the gold mining industry. The main question under investigation is how the Ashanti Goldfields Corporation managed to survive for so long: how the company evolved, what accounted for its longevity, and what assessment can be made of its business performance over time. It is found that AGC's business performance in terms of output experienced five distinct phases: steady growth between1898 and1939, decline between1939 and 1956; strong growth between 1957 and 1974; near-terminal decline between 1975 and 1986; and rapid growth between 1987 and 2004. A different and more erratic pattern emerges on profitability notably with a sharp decline in the company's last decade of existence, contributing to its loss of independence. The firm's longevity cannot solely be explained by the geological uniqueness of the Ashanti mines, although this gave the firm a critical advantage. In the face of challenging political and economic changes, managerial decisions and the manner in which the factors of production were employed help us to understand the firm's successes and failures.