Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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TESFAYE Fentaw Nigatu, Wollo University, Ethiopia

Ethiopia is still lagging behind in the development of its own Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) guidelines and framework. However, CSR is an important factor in addressing the social dimension of human development in the 21st-century sustainable development agenda. This conceptual paper analyses the importance of CSR to the social dimension of human development and the significance of context for the development of CSR guidelines and the implementation framework in a given country, without a dogmatic adherence to the Western ideology of CSR. The study draws on the literature, different company websites and personal experiences as sources of data. Japan and South Africa are used as case studies, on the assumption that they can teach us about how to adapt CSR practices within a “similar” ideology of political development. In South Africa and Japan, CSR emerged as a political instrument through the creation of public-private partnerships in different strategic areas. It was based on legislation, implementation guidelines, reporting initiatives and government monitoring schemes, intended to change the socio-economic lives of citizens. CSR is essential to the accumulation of social capital in the form of social networks, the proliferation of voluntary organisations, greater participation in civic and political associations, the building of trust, honesty, reliability, and the development of cooperation within societies. CSR is also important to the development of synergy between government and citizens through complementarity and emebeddedness, raising the “bottom of the economic pyramid” (poorest citizens), reducing the cost of human development, solving the problem of an excessive focus on “success”, and many other goals. Ethiopians are “open-minded” towards the socio-cultural life of the world (highly risk-averse society, known for its extended family structure, “collectivism” as a dominant feature of national culture). The researcher concludes by recommending the development of CSR in the Ethiopian context, in order to contribute to the political process, partnership between the public and private sectors, and economic growth with economic development.