Exploring the relationship between corporate social responsibility, law and development in an African context

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose – The purpose of this article is to explore the problematic question of government’s role in ensuring corporate social responsibility in an African context. This question may initially appear paradoxical yet it is becoming increasingly relevant in the face of linkages between corporate social responsibility (CSR) and development. The article uses the example of Nigeria’s attempt to pass a CSR bill mandating contributions towards development to identify several questions arising in such contexts. It advises a contextual approach to identifying CSR objectives and recognises the need for frameworks which law can provide. Design/methodology/approach – This article adopts a conceptual approach analysing the current debates about CSR and its linkage with development as well as the implications and issues raised by the attempted CSR law. Findings – The main findings suggest that though CSR in general refers to business and society relationships, its content and targets need to be defined in context. Attempts to pass mandatory CSR laws (even where they do not succeed), hint at the need to concretise objectives particularly where CSR is linked to development. This can be done through frameworks which include the use of law in all its forms. Originality/value – This article identifies a new direction that CSR may be taking in developing countries. It uses the Nigerian example to show that larger questions are looming for CSR, especially in connection with development. While current attempts to adopt a structured approach to CSR through legislation may not be wholly successful, they cannot be entirely ignored as this suggests the need for frameworks and concrete objectives in an African context like Nigeria
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-378
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Law and Management
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


  • Government
  • CSR
  • Development
  • Law
  • Africa
  • Nigeria
  • Social responsibility
  • Developing countries


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