The IBEAC oversaw an area of approximately 246,800 mi² (639,209 km²) situated along the eastern coast of Africa, its centre being at about 39° East longitude and 0° latitude, and from 1890 also administered Uganda. The administration of British East Africa was transferred to the Foreign Office on 1 July 1895, and in 1896 so was control of Uganda.
At this same time, Britain was focusing its resources in other interests which included land acquired in Southern Africa. This left the British Rule reluctant in accepting full responsibility for this newly acknowledge region. In an effort to ease this potential burden, Britain considered allowing a commercial company the right to administer and develop the eastern territory. In 1888, Sir William Mackinnon and the Imperial British East Africa Company (IBEAC) were authorized to serve this very purpose.
The IBEAC assumed responsibility for land stretching from the eastern coast of Africa to Uganda all the way to the northwestern shore of Lake Victoria.
Other than the expected work involved with governing the exportation and management of goods and agriculture, the main role of the IBEAC was to begin facilitating the construction of a railway connecting the east coast region of Mombasa to Lake Victoria.
Unfortunately brewing conflict between rival factions ultimately prevents the Company from investing the necessary time and money into this venture. The four groups involved, the kabaka, French Catholics, Protestants, and the Company, could not resolve their squabble amicably and with tensions continuing to rise, civil war broke out in January 1892. With the aid of Frederick Lugard, the individual given the task of building the Company a fortified location, the IBEAC earned itself a fruitless victory.
This conflict proved to be the Company’s final undoing. IBEAC was already struggling financially due to customs issue but the money spent funding this skirmish all but bankrupt it. This also made clear that the Company would be unable to continue its poorly executed attempt at colonizing eastern Africa.
The British East Africa Company proved to be an ineffective attempt at allowing commercial businesses local administrative rights. Inevitably, in 1894, the British government declared a protectorate over Uganda effectively dissolving IBEAC and assuming full responsibility.