Perceived challenges of importation through the port of Mombasa faced by countries in the great lakes region
In spite of technological improvements in transport, landlocked developing countries continue to face structural challenges to accessing world markets. As a result, landlocked countries often lag behind their maritime neighbours in overall development and external trade. While the relatively poor performance of many landlocked countries can be attributed to distance from coast, this paper argues that several aspects of dependence on transit neighbours are also important. Four such types of dependence are discussed: dependence on neighbours’ infrastructure; dependence on sound cross-border political relations; dependence on neighbours’ peace and stability; and dependence on neighbours’ administrative practices. These factors combine to yield different sets of challenges and priorities in each country. The study has determined and assessed the importation challenges faced by countries of the great lakes region in East and Central Africa as they import through the port of Mombasa, Kenya. The countries of this region are majorly landlocked and are often faced with great challenges during trade. Consideration was mainly given to import trade since very few studies have looked at import challenges in the region. The study determined and assessed the challenges of importing in the Great Lakes region guided by the research question. The study used a census survey of 30 respondents which consisted of Kenya Port Authority Managers, the Kenya Custom Authorities, clearing agencies and import clients from the region. The research design was descriptive in nature to portray an accurate profile of persons, events and situations (Robson, 2002). The study concludes with a brief set of policy recommendations. A detailed appendix presents a map of the region under survey and a survey questionnaire which was distributed to respondents on a drop and pick basis.