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Nancy Karigithu, from Land to Sea: New Frontiers for National Development

  Mar 18, 2016

What comes to one’s mind when they hear of the maritime sector? Possibly massive water vessels in the vast ocean. The maritime sector is far much more than the shipping vessels. Nancy Karigithu, Principal Secretary of Shipping and Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Transport and Infrastructure shared how various industries would benefit in being partakers of the maritime sector during the Advanced Management Program guest speaker session at Strathmore Business School on 9th March 2016.

Ms. Karigithu a maritime law expert with over 20 years’ experience was the former Kenya Maritime Authority (KMA) Director- General and an alumnus of the Advanced Management Program.

Since her appointment the industry got an autonomous department to manage its operations, breaking away from the wider transport docket. The transport ministry as it was constituted gave all the attention to roads and other projects such as the standard gauge railway.

Pearls of Wisdom from Ms. Karigithu

Managers must learn the humility of realizing that they are not the gate keepers of all the knowledge and hence they should always endeavor to learn and welcome new ideas and innovations.

True management is about people not things. “Opening up to people has enriched my work. A people-oriented management has taught me that everyone in the organisation has something to teach you. Managers have to destroy the perceived ivory towers.”

Celebration of diversity in the organisational set up is crucial. Managers should work on bringing down the walls of being associated by certain groupings. “Power is not about control. When you bring down the silos in the organisation, you manage better.” She referenced John Maxwell’s who says that leadership is not about position nor power, but about one life influencing the life of other people and hence leaders should be good listeners and good communicators whose main agenda is to improve their people as they lead.


Some of the challenges she has been facing in the sector has been piracy around the gulf, which has ripped the shipping industry billions in ransom payouts. This has increased operational costs due to higher insurance premiums reflected in the pricing of commodities. She admitted that it has been quite a daunting task to coordinate industry operations and policies to ensure efficiency especially in the enforcement of laws pertaining to illegal trading practices.

The lack of policy framework for managing the sector has hindered the development of exploitation and management of policy programs both within and beyond the EEZ. Low service quality, inefficiency and high cost procedures that attract penalties, proliferation of charges and lack of competition.


The Kenyan maritime landscape cascades to 200 nautical miles under the jurisdiction of the country containing great potential for wealth such as: boat and ship resources employment, sport fishing and tourism, creation of high-end tourism facilities; 400 cruise tourists are equivalent to 4,000 tourists arriving by air, seaweed cultivation.

She called for an integrated national maritime policy development framework, which builds on human resource for the maritime sector, maritime transport services, resources exploitation, national and county government involvement as well as safety and security of the industry. She concluded by stating that higher learning institutions should be enhanced to meet local maritime needs.

About Advanced Management Program

The Advanced Management Program (AMP) is a joint program between Strathmore Business School (SBS), Lagos Business School (LBS) and IESE Business School, Barcelona, Spain.
AMP helps business leaders develop the professional and personal capabilities required to successfully meet their professional endeavors.

The program offers an invaluable opportunity to learn from high-caliber faculty members, interact with a group of senior-level peers and strengthen leadership skills. This program is designed to propel executive lead on the global arena.

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