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How can Corporate Social Responsibility Deliver in Africa? Insights from Kenya and Zambia

It is now recognised that poverty reduction and sustainable development will not be achieved through government action alone. Policy makers are paying increasing attention to the potential contribution of the private sector to such policy objectives. The concept of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is sometimes used as shorthand for businesses’ contribution to sustainable development. A number of core development issues are already central to the international CSR agenda. They include labour standards, human rights, education, health, child labour, conflict and environmental impacts. But what does this mean at the national level, particularly in those countries in which sustainable development challenges appear most intractable? Does CSR resonate among local stakeholders? This paper describes key aspects of the emerging CSR agenda in Kenya and Zambia – in order to explore what it would take to help unlock the potential private sector contribution to sustainable development in each country.

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