Call for contribution: The social responsibility of organisations and companies in French-speaking Africa

Sahel landscape

A collective work project under done by the following researchers Victorine Ghislaine NZINO MUNONGO, researcher at the Ministry of Scientific Research and Innovation, Cameroon, Martial JEUGUE DOUNGUE, PhD, Researcher-Lecturer, L. Christelle BELPORO, University of Montreal, Quebec, Canada and Hermann NANAN LEKOGMO, PhD, Catholic University of Central Africa (UCAC-APDHAC)

Publication date: December 2018
Call for contributions on Calenda : https://calenda.org/438721

Argument

Considering on the one hand, the current global village under construction in which many stakeholders are called to interact towards the realisation of a common destiny and, on the other hand, the concern for the preservation of local resources, the need for a more concrete implementation emerges from the principle of integration. The objectives of sustainable development (OSD) were thus adopted with the aim, by 2030, to eliminate poverty in all its forms through the promotion of sustainable industrialisation that benefits all, and promotes innovation and research and encourages large companies and transnational corporations to adopt and integrate viable practices. The essential aim of objectives is to create jobs, increase local wealth through gross domestic product (GDP) and more efficient use of resources through the use of clean, socially inclusive and environmentally friendly industrial technologies and processes.

The current economic environment in Sub-Saharan Africa faces several challenges:

  1. An estimated population explosion of 1.1 billion inhabitants with a projection of 2.4 billion in 2050 [1], which represents one third of the world’s population. In addition, 60 per cent of the African population is less than 35 years old [2] and is made up of young people eager for goods and consumption.
  2. An urbanisation that is done at a high speed in terms of the occupancy of space by populations: statistics mention 472 million inhabitants living in urban areas and double this figure within the next twenty-five years [3]. These figures indicate the existence of a significant gradual concentration of demand and supply of goods and services in urban areas and a growing economy with a forecast of 2.6% in 2017[4]. According to the World Bank, this growth is slowed-down by the infrastructure deficit, which has the effect of limiting companies’ productivity to 40% [5].
  3. A pretty glaring lack of infrastructure. There is therefore a vital need to invest massively for the construction of viable spaces that can accommodate this growing population and meet companies’ expectations. However, the bill for these operations will probably be quite salty. According to finance experts, the need for investment in infrastructure construction in Africa is estimated at 93 billion Dollars per year [6]. In an environment where 43 per cent of the whole population lives below the poverty line.[7], the challenge is not only to prepare the ground for a so-called inclusive economy but also a system of production, sales and consumption that respects the Human dignity while preserving the environment. Hence the reference to social responsibility of companies/organisations.

According to Bambara and his colleagues, the social responsibility of organisations (RSO) is perceived as the « responsibility of an organisation for the impact of its decisions and activities on the society and the environment, resulting in transparent and ethical behaviour that contributes to sustainable development including the health of people and the well-being of society, takes into account the expectations of stakeholders, respects the laws in force and is compatible with the standards and is integrated into the Organisation as a whole and implemented in its relations”[8]. Moreover, according to the International Labour Organisation (ILO), the social responsibility of companies/organisations (CSR) expresses « … the way in which companies take into account the impact of their activities on society and affirm their principles and values both in the application of their internal methods and processes and in their relations with other actors”[9]. The ILO definition addresses the sociological approach of CSR, which presents this concept « … As a matter of social regulation involving, behind the institution of the enterprise, social actors in Conflict »[10]. Henceforth, as Mc William and Siegel would say, it is a matter of considering CSR « … as actions to improve social well-being beyond the interests of the firm and what is required by law ».[11]. This presentation of the concept sets out in a comprehensive way the issue of integrating a CSR/RSO into a company.

The legal-political framework of CSR/RSO in Africa is a real challenge. If the perception that the States have of this tool is full of nuances, companies also have the perception. The management and implementation tools for CSR/SAR in African countries and businesses deserve to be analysed in order to understand and translate the scope of CSR/RSO in Sub-Saharan Africa. Despite the innovative nature of the Western concept of CSR/RSO in Africa and the changing apprehension of the latter in terms of social realities, there are implementing approaches that position companies as actors with responsibility to contribute to the eradication of poverty.

The aim of this book is to address the responses offered by CSR/RSO in Sub-Saharan Africa under the prism of the various challenges that the latter faces. We want to better understand exchanges of influence existing between this concept and the Saharan African environment, in other words, analyse the contribution of CSR/RSO in the Saharan African environment and in return, changes undergone by this concept because of adaptation to its setting environment.

This book will address stakeholders such as public and parastatal administrations, the private sector, academic and professional institutions, civil society, etc.

The expected contributions must concern one of the following aspects:

  1. CSR/SAR and Sustainable Development Goals, by 2030 in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  2. CSR/SAR and poverty alleviation in Saharan countries;
  3. CSR/SAR in the forestry sector in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  4. Industrialisation, clean technology and economic growth in Saharan countries;
  5. Sustainable Industrialisation, research and innovation in Saharan countries;
  6. Major corporations, transnational corporations and human rights;
  7. Sustainable production policy in SMI/SME in Sub-Saharan Africa;
  8. Protection of means of substances and basic production in the face of environmental crises in Cameroon; etc.

The chapters will be assessed according to the open-ended method of ESBC (between authors of the book, with publication of a summary of the evaluations).

Book creation process

This book project is opened to all, in a state of mind that rejects any prospect of competition or exclusion. On the contrary, the aim of the cognitive justice of this book leads us to want to open it to all knowledge and to all epistemologies,

As much as it helps us to understand its purpose. We will therefore work with all authors who want to participate in this adventure to improve their proposal or their text so that this book becomes a valuable resource.

In terms of writing instructions, it is quite possible to include pictures or other images. It is also possible to propose, as a chapter, the transcription of an interview or a testimonial or a video for the online version, if it enables knowledge to enter our book. On the other hand, in order to maximize the accessibility and use of the book, we ask to restrict the use of any specialised jargon.

The circulation of this call in all African universities is crucial in order to respect the aim of cognitive justice and regional circulation of information.

Note that the writing of these chapters is voluntary and will not be remunerated. The gratification of authors will be to see their chapter spread and be used in the service of the common good of Africa.

Authors participating in the production of the book will be invited to exchange throughout the writing and editing process on a Facebook or WhatsApp group, in order to share ideas, references and early versions, in the spirit of mutual support and collaboration that is promoted by cognitive justice.

Calendar

  • March 2018: Call launch
  • July 31st  2018: Deadline to send a proposal (a summary of few sentences) or a chapter
  • August 31st 2018: Response to proposals and reception of chapters until October 31st 2018.
  • December 2018: Publication of a complete online version and print copies upon request.

To participate

As soon as possible, send a message to the following email address propositions@editionscienceetbiencommun.org with your biography (in few lines), the complete contact details of your institution or association and a summary of the chapter (or chapters) that you want to propose. This summary consists of presenting in few sentences the content of the text you wish to propose, associating it, as far as possible, with one of the proposed topics.

Notes

[1]Croissance démographique, http://www.unesco.org/new/fr/africa-department/priority-africa/operational-strategy/demographic-growth/. (Consulté le 11/08/2017).

[2] Idem.

[3]  Rapport sur l’urbanisation en Afrique : pour soutenir la croissance il faut améliorer la vie des habitants et des entreprises dans les villes, http://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/news/press-release/2017/02/09/world-bank-report-improving-conditions-for-people-and-businesses-in-africas-cities-is-key-to-growth. (Consulté le 15/08/2017).

Cf. Félix Zogning,Ahmadou Aly Mbaye,Marie-Thérèse Um-Ngouem, L’économie informelle, l’entrepreneuriat et l’emploi, Editions JFD, 2017 p.81.

[4] http://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/region/afr/overview. (Consulté le 11/08/2017).

[5] Le nécessaire développement des infrastructures pour une croissance plus inclusive en Afrique, https://www.lesechos.fr/idees-debats/cercle/cercle-164856-le-necessaire-developpement-des-infrastructures-pour-une-croissance-plus-inclusive-en-afrique-2056658.php. (Consulté le 11/08/2017).

[6] Idem.

[7] Toujours plus de personnes pauvres en Afrique malgré les progrès réalisés en matière d’éducation et de santé, http://www.banquemondiale.org/fr/news/press-release/2015/10/16/africa-gains-in-health-education-but-numbers-of-poor-grow. (Consulté le 11/08/2017).

[8] M. BAMBARA et A. SENE, « L’évolution de la responsabilité sociétale de l’entreprise à la faveur du développement durable: vers une juridicisation de la RSE »  in Revue Africaine du Droit de l’Environnement, nᵒ 00, 2012, p.100.

[9]L’OIT et la responsabilité sociale de l’entreprise, Helpdesk du BIT N◦1,  http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_emp/—emp_ent/—multi/documents/publication/wcms_142693.pdf (consulté le 12/02/2015).

[10] Emmanuelle Champion et al., Les représentations de la responsabilité sociale des entreprises : un éclairage sociologique, Les cahiers de la Chaire de responsabilité sociale et développement durable ESG-UQÀM – collection recherche No 05-2005, p.4.

[11] MacWilliams, A. & Siegel, D., cité par Marianne Rubinstein, « Le développement de la responsabilité sociale de l’entreprise », Revue d’économie industrielle [En ligne], 113 | 1er trimestre 2006, mis en ligne le 21 avril 2008, consulté le 18 janvier 2015. URL :http://rei.revues.org/295.

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