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Humanitarian Aid Distribution in East Africa: A study in supply chain volatility and fragility

Choi, Andrew K.-Y., Beresford, Anthony Kenneth Charles ORCID:, Pettit, Stephen John ORCID: and Bayusuf, F. 2010. Humanitarian Aid Distribution in East Africa: A study in supply chain volatility and fragility. Supply Chain Forum: An International Journal 11 (3) , pp. 20-31.

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This article examines supply chain operations in volatile and fragile environments. Salient existing literature can be divided into two broad groups: commercial vulnerability, when uncertainties in a business environment cause demand fluctuation, and noncommercial vulnerability, when uncertainties are dramatic and are derived from an external shock such as terrorism or natural events (e.g., earthquakes). The objective of this article is to examine the operation of aid supply chains in the extreme conditions that prevailed immediately following the Rwandan civil war and during the more stable period that followed. In particular the aim is to carry out an assessment of the effectiveness of the movement of emergency aid to and within Rwanda in the post?Rwandan civil war period (1994 to 1996), with specific reference to road-based logistics and port operations in Kenya, the workings of Tanzania railways, and the role of other service providers in and around Rwanda. Internal and external barriers to distribution, which are both physical and nonphysical, are highlighted. Three surveys were carried out in 1994/1995, 1997/1998, and 2004/2005 covering the initial relief surge period, the rebuilding phase, and the post-crisis recovery period, respectively. It is clear that the region suffers from fragile physical logistics systems (poor road surfaces, unstable railtrack bedding, weak bridges) and volatile operating conditions (fluctuating freight rates, unpredictable transit schedules through Kenya and Tanzania), and a wide range of other uncertainties such as political instability. Nonetheless it is shown that opportunities for service development arise from the uncertain operating conditions, and these are exploited by companies willing to bear high levels of risk. Their response is typically to charge a risk premium for services, consistent with the behaviour of companies that focus mainly on nonemergency environments.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
Publisher: BEM - Publishing
ISSN: 1624-6039
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2022 09:42

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