'Good Citizens': Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa

"Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a growing consideration for businesses. The Country Review Reports (CRRs) compiled through the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) provide a unique lens through which CSR application in Africa can be gauged. Increasingly, thinking on the subject is moving beyond philanthropy to demands for the systemic integration of social concerns into business planning. In Africa, despite advanced thinking on the subject, its application across most of the continent remains in its infancy – ad hoc and of limited effectiveness. The very terms of CSR in Africa are contested: legislated demands are frequently ignored, while debates rage about appropriate business obligations towards workers. Corporate social investment (CSI) is unevenly applied and attracts criticism for failing to address key problems. This policy briefing appeals for greater encouragement of CSR and CSI, recognising its voluntary nature while stressing the advantages of taking a systemic, integrated approach to it."