Corporate Social Responsibility in the African Context: Interest in African Energy Resources Used to Focus Almost Entirely on North and West African Oil, but While Oil Still Attracts the Lion's Share of Investment, Natural Gas Is Steadily Catching Up in Terms of Importance. Neil Ford Reports
Ford, Neil, New African
Corporate social responsibility is not a term which resonates in much of Africa. Encouraging the growth of African companies and creating employment can be difficult enough without placing any restrictions on the approach of business. Yet despite the need to encourage foreign direct investment (FDI) and local enterprise, it would be wholly wrong to promote Africa as the bargain basement of the international political economy, where companies can set up inefficient operations, pay low wages and pay little heed to the social and environmental impact of their actions.
Corporations, therefore, need to be held to account for the wider impact of their operations by governments, civil society and the international community. It is simply not good enough to measure their contribution to GDP and other raw economic data when their effect on the societies within which they operate is so much greater.
It may be something of a vague term, that means everything and nothing, but corporate social responsibility, or CSR as it is sometimes known, is the umbrella term that has been designed to highlight such responsibilities.
In brief, CSR can be explained as a combination of sustainable development and treating employees and the society within which companies operate with respect. The environmental impact of any economic activity should be weighed against the economic benefit and any measures that could mitigate the negative impact should be taken if they are at all economically feasible.
At the same time, workers should be entitled to fair and reasonable treatment at work, a fair wage for the job under-taken within the local market and minimum health and welfare benefits.
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: Corporate Social Responsibility in the African Context: Interest in African Energy Resources Used to Focus Almost Entirely on North and West African Oil, but While Oil Still Attracts the Lion's Share of Investment, Natural Gas Is Steadily Catching Up in Terms of Importance. Neil Ford Reports. Contributors: Ford, Neil - Author. Magazine title: New African. Issue: 465 Publication date: August-September 2007. Page number: 50+. © 2005 IC Publications Ltd. COPYRIGHT 2007 Gale Group.
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