Towards a next phase of port reform in Africa: an analysis of context, drivers, performance and options

Adekola Oyenuga, Michael Dooms, C. Sys, Patrick Verhoeven

Onderzoeksoutput: Unpublished paper


African ports have recently undergone extensive reforms with threefold objectives: 1) To increase operational efficiency and effectiveness; 2) To advance private sector participation while reducing the public sector’s financial burden; and 3) To improve overall port performance. However, the reforms have failed to live up to their pre-reform expectations. This paper poses three questions: 1. How have these reforms performed? 2. What can be learnt from them? 3. How should these lessons influence future reforms? The paper applies New Institutional Economics (NIE) theory supported by expert interviews and the grounded-theory qualitative analysis method. It focuses on reforms implemented at three African ports: the Lagos and Tincan Island port complexes, Nigeria; the Mombasa port, Kenya and the Walvis Bay port, Namibia, during the past two decades.
The main findings suggest that the landlord model remains the preferred port management model and that a context-sensitive approach is needed for its implementation in African ports. The paper also identifies the quality of port institutions to be essential for reform success. More specifically, Nigeria’s ports are identified as having a weak, even compromised, institutional environment that has contributed to its reforms stalling. The Mombasa port, despite improvements in the institutional environment, continues to be undermined by political interference in the port authority. The Walvis Bay port has the most robust institutional environment, with a port authority that is secured from political interference and has thereby been most capable to implement successful reforms.


ConferenceInternational Association of Maritime Economics (IAME) ANNUAL CONFERENCE 2023, Sept 5-7, 2023, Long Beach, California, USA
Land/RegioUnited States
Internet adres


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