Corporate Social Responsibility and development in Africa : Redefining the roles and responsibilities of public and private actors in the mining sector

Resources Policy, 2 July 2011

Bonnie Campbell, 2 juillet 2011

This paper revisits the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), suggesting the usefulness of adopting a holistic and historical perspective. It underlines the importance of taking into account the evolving regulatory frameworks within which mining activities take place in order to consider the changing roles played by the various actors involved, whether multilateral, national or local, public or private. In this broad context it then becomes possible to revisit issues of legitimacy, responsibility, and accountability, which CSR strategies aim to address. The article draws attention to the shortcomings of strategies, whether bilateral or multilateral, public or private, which, in an attempt to respond to problems of risk and legitimacy faced by mining companies, have put forward measures in the name of CSR that do not address the origins that give rise to such problems and, in so doing, tend to mask the very nature of the difficulties at hand. The analysis leads to quite different conclusions as compared to those that result from the adoption of a shorter term and investment-led perspective.

Corporate Social Responsibility and development in Africa : Redefining the roles and responsibilities of public and private actors in the mining sector