Corporate social responsibility in Africa: definition, issues and processes
Dr Judy Muthuri, International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility,
Nottingham University Business School
Photograph of Sustainability, Responsibility & Ethics research theme members with speaker, Dr Judy Muthuri (second from right).
» Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa
The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is gaining roots in Africa with companies increasingly considering social, economic and ecological issues in the business practices yet its scholarship is negligible. This paper attempts to fill this gap by examining the meaning and practice of CSR in Africa. It is based on a literature review of 145 journal articles published between 1991-2011 by practitioners and scholars on CSR in five Africa countries: South Africa, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and Malawi.
The findings suggest that the national business systems including the African philosophies of communalism and ubuntu shape the nature and extent of CSR uptake in Africa. CSR in Africa is driven by the need to conform to social norms (e.g. community giving) or mimic ‘best practices’ especially across industries, sectors and the multinational corporations. The regulatory, social and cultural pressures collectively and iteratively shape CSR landscape in Africa however; the intensity of these pressures varies across the five countries.
The paper concludes by asserting that CSR can contribute to sustainable development and competitiveness, and therefore organizations in the private, public and non-profit sectors ought to work collectively to mandate, facilitate and endorse CSR institutionalization in Africa.