*“Multinational Corporations based outside Africa have to become more ‘socially aware’ when doing business in sub-Saharan Africa*”.
“From the very beginning of critical thought, we find the distinction between topics susceptible of certain knowledge and topics about which uncertain opinions are available. The dawn of this distinction, explicitly entertained, is the dawn of modern mentality. It introduces criticism.”
Sub-Saharan Africa comprises of 46 countries with around 700 million inhabitants (The World Bank, 2008). The economic, political, climatic & environmental diversity makes this region one of the most difficult to understand & strategize. When MNC’s started to set their foot here, they faced many backlashes from their host countries citing it ...view middle of the document...
“An enabling policy environment that fosters private investment should be put in place” were the words (The World Bank, 1989), as MNC’s had to operate in culturally pluralistic society. For fostering the relationship, MNC’s had to make ethics an integral part of the management decisions & policies.
Every sub-Saharan African country has a different problem which needed to be addressed but MNC’s started with targeting the most common problems first like poverty, illiteracy & health with notable projects started by the likes of ExxonMobil in Angola -‘Africa Health’ & ‘Educating Women and Girls Program’; Marathon Oil’s ‘Bioko Island Malaria Prevention’ & Shell’s ‘Eni’s Green River Project’ to name a few which were a huge success in their respective countries (Williams, 2008). MNC’s are always looking forward to expand on foreign shores and sub-Saharan Africa was the best bet, being the untapped & resource rich markets. They identified the benefit of CSR quiet early as they foresaw it helping them in overcoming the obstacles in the business sustainability like illiteracy & health of manpower and it assisting in building brand reputation being the icing on the cake. Moreover, the government of these poor countries were more than eager to give them free lunches, in terms of relaxed taxes, special zones, to attract FDI’s which in return will boost their economy and help them tackling serious issues like unemployment and was their only hope for pulling the citizens out of poverty.
To conclude, CSR is win-win situation for both MNC’s & the local environment and should be practised with focus, constructive thought and long-term outlook. Indeed, “multinationals based outside Africa have to become more ‘socially aware’ when doing business in sub-Saharan Africa”, because a healthier environment will help them achieve superior organizational performance. Doing well & doing good are not be separate ideas anymore.