MNC Reporting on CSR and Conflict in Central Africa

Abstract

In recent years, corporate social responsibility (CSR) of Multinational Corporations (MNCs) in developing countries has received more attention. However, in this literature, Africa is much less well represented than other regions, and existing studies about Africa have mainly focused on South Africa and Nigeria. This focus has resulted in scant research on other African countries where MNCs are located as well, and where their presence is notable. Settings largely unexplored include conflict-ridden areas in Central Africa where a limited number of usually large MNCs can potentially have a large impact on the local situation and play a role in addressing the huge problems with which these countries are confronted. Moreover, the MNCs themselves face large CSR dilemmas, related to the contribution they can (or cannot) give in the different setting compared to their home countries as well as their attitude vis-à-vis ongoing conflicts. In order to help shed light on these issues, this article explores how MNCs report on CSR and conflict in three Central African countries (Angola, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Republic of the Congo). Our analysis of company information reveals that opportunities are widely seen and that most MNCs report on their economic and social impacts. However, CSR reporting is fairly generic, and the specific context seems to bear little influence on the type of CSR activities. The conflict dimension also receives limited attention, although some companies show awareness and outline the limitations of their power and the dilemmas inherent to their presence in these countries. The potential for MNCs’ involvement in (co)creating sustainable economies is recognised, and needs further research attention in the coming years.

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Correspondence to Ans Kolk.

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Kolk, A., Lenfant, F. MNC Reporting on CSR and Conflict in Central Africa. J Bus Ethics 93, 241–255 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10551-009-0271-1

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Key words

  • conflict
  • Multinational Corporations
  • CSR
  • Angola
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Republic of the Congo