Sunday, June 9, 2024

Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo

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Nyongesa Sande
Nyongesa Sande
Nyongesa Sande is a Kenyan blogger, Pan Africanist,c olumnist Political Activist , blogger, informer & businesman who has interest in politics, governance, corporate fraud, human rights and television personality.

Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo, also known as Haji Yusuf, was a Bahraini merchant and trader who, in 1890, took over his father’s business and started the trading empire that would grow into the Yusuf bin Ahmed Kanoo Group, one of the largest independent trading companies in the Gulf region.

Kanoo introduced a number of innovations to Bahrain, including setting up the country’s first bank and its first petrol station. He built a significant regional business in shipping and trading agencies, which brought him into conflict with British companies and authority, before seeing much of his holdings wiped out by the financial crisis that followed in the wake of the collapse of the pearling industry in the Persian Gulf.

As Bahrain’s entrepot trade expanded, Kanoo built his trading activities, including involvement in the mother of pearl trade. As well as an increasingly wide network of general trade throughout Saudi ArabiaKuwaitQatar and Sharjah, he secured an agency to ship large bulk cargoes of coffee and tea, breaking these down into smaller consignments for regional distribution. In 1911, he secured the Bahrain agency for Arab Steamers Ltd, a Bombay-based company that ran a regular service between Bombay and Basra with its single ship, the SS Budrie. Arab Steamers expanded its fleet to offer a weekly service that would rival the dominant force at the time, the British India Steam Navigation Company.

Arab Steamers expanded its fleet to five ships, diverting them to Bahrain from the Bombay/Basra run on an opportunistic basis, later operating scheduled services. The company provided their agent, Kanoo, with a typewriter to simplify correspondence – the first typewriter, as it turned out, to be used in Bahrain.

In 1913, Kanoo signed an agency agreement with APOC (the Anglo Persian Oil Company), which established him as the agent for the Mahadi Namazi Line. He also became the agent for the Mogul Line, which later amalgamated with the Mahadi Namazi Line, a shipping company that specialised in the transportation to and from Jeddah of pilgrims to Mecca. By the First World War, Kanoo was operating a significant portfolio of shipping agencies, including the Bombay and Persia Steam Navigation Company of Bombay and the Persian Gulf Steam Navigation Company of London – in fact representing two competitors. Eventually Kanoo was forced to cede the smaller of the two agencies and drop the Persian Gulf Steam Navigation Company agency. His APOC agency was to become a lucrative one when Imperial Airways started regular flights through Bahrain as part of its Empire Route, connecting Croydon with Canberra.

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