Jeberti Women Traders’Innumeracy, Its Impact on Commercial Activity
in Eritrea, a 2009 artcle by Abbebe Kifleyesus
Throughout the last millennium the Muslim Jeberti traders of Eritrea played a critical role in linking the diverse reaches of the plateau districts of Hamasien, Seraye and Akkele Guzay (Zoba Debub in present day Eritrea) to carry their goods and, in the process, ideas and news from one region to another. As the Red Sea trade increased in volume and momentum in the late xviiith and xixth centuries, the Jeberti confronted commercial competition from coastal peoples. Yet the Jeberti who at present represent some seven percent of the Tigrigna population of Eritrea have as Muslims always felt a divine mandate to be merchants and have traditionally posited a high institutional affinity for commercial undertaking using folk systems of numbering as a means for achieving upward mobility, social respect and upholding family economic benefits.
Thanks to Jelal Yassin for sharing