The Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa, or CSR, has a strategic and economic strake for firms. Nevertheless, the concept is poorly understood by a large majority of business leaders and executives on the continent. Defined as being “the company’s’ contribution to sustainable development and their accountability towards the environmental and social impacts from their activities”, CSR undertakes the accountability of a company towards all its stakeholders. It places the society in the middle of the interactions between several groups of actors which needs go through the goods and services proposed by the firm. It covers many fields going from interpersonal and intercultural relationships to environmental challenges. According to their interests, firms, mainly multinationals, allie to social causes. It’s a double challenge calling not to interpose capitalist interest to ethical involvement. What defines so the CSR importance, as an emerging but indispensable notions, in companies ?
A multitude of sectors concerned with the Corporate Social Responsibility in Africa
In a moving world that doesn’t stop innovating, Africa has it role to play, so does it business area. Outside the rentability, african companies, as the ones from all around the world, are called to be more ethical, involved and adapted to societies. Given the african societies specificity, CSR is becoming, with time, an obviousness, even an opportunity for business leaders. It takes a main role in the company’s performance. In Africa, the main challenge companies face is the struggle against informal economy the hire almost 72% from the active population. In some fields such as agri-food and telecommunications for example, many companies’ stakeholders are part of the informal economy. Facing that, african firms, with public authorities, seek to formalize their value chains.
A hard task
Africa is not only the new economic boarder, but a place for social innovation. The continent so needs to draw intellect from its youth, mainly from its diaspora, to settle a accountable economy’s basis. At a continental level, one the firms’ first challenge is the Africa electrification to improve interdependence and interconnexion. The goal is to involve african societies in a dynamics linked to sustainable development. Also, the small rural businesses tutoring for agriculture and agri-food transformation should offer a growth relay for all african people. The companies’ CSR continental opening could only favorize the human development in Africa, through a greater peace and stability. If the business rentability doesn’t concern CSR, the public policies’ one could strongly take advantage of it.
Still strongly unknown in Africa, as much by the public authorities as business leaders, a lot of companies would take advantage by settling international CSR policies. Globally, Africa undertakes more a philanthropic culture than a CSR one. However, drawing up a precise inventory of CSR in Africa remains a priority, both to improve the image of the market economy on the continent and to help the public authorities to reach their Sustainable Development Objectives is still hard today, partly because the concept’s apprehension in Africa is recent, but also because many african companies initiate CSR activities without formalizing them as it.