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Unisa Press

The Business of Sustainable Development in Africa

The Business of Sustainable Development in Africa
Editors: Ralph Hamann, Stu Woolman, Courtenay Sprague
Published: 2008 - Unisa Press, United Nations University Press & GTZ
Rights World rights, shared with United Nations University Press:
Format 240 x 170 mm (Laminated softcover)
Pages: xvi + 359
ISBN: 13 978-1-86888-527 -5
Prices: South Africa: R265 (incl VAT) | Africa: R298 | USD: $41 | GBP: £41 | Euro: €33

About the book

Human rights, partnerships, alternative business models

At last! A book focused on the vital subject of corporate citizenship and partnerships in Africa. Written by a diverse group of scholars and practitioners, the book achieves an excellent balance of theory and practice, and offers insightful African perspectives within a broader global context. The authors have drawn valuable lessons from both large compa­nies and social enterprises, and from internal management challenges and more systemic collaborative efforts. This deserves a prominent place on the bookshelf of anyone who is interested in business, in international development, or in Africa. — Jane Nelson, Direc­tor, Corporate Social Responsibility Initiative, JFK School of Government, Harvard

In today’s globalised economy, strategies pursued by business leaders have profound effects on people and the environment. In countries with severe poverty and under-re­sourced regulatory and governance frameworks, navigating between the bottom line and the needs of affected communities can pose serious dilemmas. This book argues that a strategic, values-based approach, coupled with a willingness to innovate and collaborate, can assist companies in grappling with such challenges, and may even turn such chal­lenges into new opportunities. The overarching themes of human rights, cross-sector part­nerships and alternative business models are described along with diverse case studies drawn mostly from sub-Saharan Africa. The lessons of the case studies and critical essays provide insights rarely seen in the literature on business and sustainable development. Coming from the Global South, these lessons have broader significance for the global de­bate on private sector development and they transcend much of the current, sometimes over-simplified commentary associated with the field. — Dr David Wheeler, Dean of Management, Dalhousie University, Canada

This book opens a crucial debate on the contribution and commitment of the private sector to development in Africa. Sustainable development cannot be achieved through govern­ment action alone and the private sector has an important role to play. The book succeeds in unpacking what this means for companies in diverse African contexts. It highlights the tensions between business activities and the development agenda, as well as the need to understand the role of companies beyond the traditional emphasis on philanthropy. This book will inspire decision makers in business, government and civil society in their quest to maximize the private sector’s contribution to development in Africa. — Michelle Ndiaye Ntab, Chief Executive Officer, African Institute of Corporate Citizenship (AICC)

About the contributors

Ralph Hamann is senior researcher in the Environmental Evaluation Unit at the University of Cape Town and associate professor extraordinary at the Sustainability Institute, Stellenbosch University. He has held research positions at the Centre for Corporate Citizenship, Unisa, and at the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship, and has consulted for various public and private sector organisations. His PhD was on CSR in mining and was conferred in 2004 by the University of East Anglia.

Stu Woolman holds degrees in philosophy from Wesleyan University (BA) and Columbia University (MA) and in law from Columbia Law School (JD) and the University of Pretoria (PhD). Professor Woolman is the editor-in-chief and primary author of Constitutional Law of South Africa, the most influential and widely-cited treatise on the subject. He has practised law in Washington, DC, and New York City and is currently a public law consultant with Ashira (Pty) Ltd in Johannesburg. Prior to joining the Department of Public Law and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria in 2002, he taught law at Columbia Law School and the University of the Witwatersrand. He has also worked on the UN Human Rights Committee and the Goldstone Commission.

Courtenay Sprague is a faculty member at the Graduate School of Business and a doctoral student in the Development Studies Department at the University of the Witwatersrand. She has held programme and research posts at Carnegie Corporation and Harvard University, and produced commissioned research for the ILO (International Labour Organisation), UNDP, the Treatment Action Campaign and USAID. Her doctoral research focuses on health equity, access to treatment and ethics. She has authored and co-developed over 40 published cases, journal articles and book chapters.

Bastian Birkenhäger studied tropical forestry at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. He then worked for the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation) in Nepal and Sierra Leone and for GTZ in the Ivory Coast, in the fields of community forestry and sustainable tropical forest management respectively. Since his return to Europe Bastian has continued to work as an independent consultant, mainly on projects in Central Africa. As some of these projects deal with public-private partnerships, he has become interested in corporate citizenship.

Claudio Bruzzi Boechat has been a teacher, researcher and project manager at the Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility Nucleus at Fundação Dom Cabral, Brazil, since 2002. His current professional activities include knowledge development in the field of responsible and sustainable business management. He is a contributor to the Globally Responsible Leadership Initiative and the UN Global Compact Principles for Responsible Management Education. He has degrees in electrical engineering from the Federal University of Minas Gerais and Fundação Dom Cabral, Brazil.

Oana Branzei is assistant professor of Strategy and a faculty member of the Engaging Emergent Markets and Building Sustainable Value Cross-leadership Centres at the Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario. Prior to joining Ivey, she was part of the faculty of the Schulich School of Business at York University, Canada. Oana is a multiple research and teaching award winner, who has published in leading academic journals and has written several award-winning case studies.

Kris Dobie holds an MPhil in Workplace Ethics from the University of Pretoria. He is currently with the Ethics Institute of South Africa where his main focus is on organisational ethics development. He has been involved in a number of projects focusing on anti-corruption research and training, predominantly in the South African public service.

Oonagh E. Fitzgerald has been a lawyer with the federal government of Canada since 1983, as well as a manager since 1995. She has written two books, The Guilty Plea and Summary Justice, and Understanding Charter Remedies, and has also edited a collection of essays, The Globalized Rule of Law: Relations between International and Domestic Law. She has taught at various universities and is currently completing an Executive Masters of Business Administration at Queen’s University in Canada.

Martin Hall is deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town and is affiliated to the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at UCT's Graduate School of Business. He has written on public higher education policy and the social role of universities in contributing to development, and is researching knowledge systems and knowledge flows to small enterprises that contribute to job creation and poverty alleviation.

Jonathon Hanks is a founding director of Incite Sustainability, a consultancy that specialises in promoting sustainability practices in the public and private sectors in southern Africa. He is a senior associate of the University of Cambridge Programme for Industry and a visiting senior lecturer at the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business. He is currently convenor of an international ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) Task Group developing a global standard on social responsibility (ISO 26000).

Paul Kapelus has 15 years’ experience in the field of corporate responsibility, with a focus on mining, oil, infrastructure development, finance and telecommunications. He is the founder and former CEO of the African Institute of Corporate Citizenship, and he is currently a director at Synergy Global Consulting.

Ricarda McFalls is an International Management and Business Development specialist with more than 20 years of global IT industry experience, and has worked for the past 12 years in sub-Saharan Africa. She has recently completed a Masters degree in Sustainable Development at Stellenbosch University with a view to applying her many years of business experience in developing countries to promoting business practices and development policies supportive of a sustainability agenda.

Kevin McKague is a senior research fellow with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability at York University, Canada, and is founding president of the Foundation for Sustainable Enterprise and Development (FSED). He has consulted on major International Finance Corporation (IFC) projects, among others, and he has held posts at the IFC and the Schulich School of Business. Kevin is co-author of Creating Sustainable Local Enterprise Networks, published in the MIT/Sloan Management Review and has developed over 50 best-practice case studies.

Judy N. Muthuri is pursuing doctoral studies at the International Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility (ICCSR), Nottingham University Business School. She received her Masters of Research degree with distinction from ICCSR. She also holds an MBA from the University of Nairobi and a Bachelor of Education degree from Kenyatta University. Her areas of interest are corporate social strategy, corporate community involvement and CSR in developing countries.

Roberta Mokrejs Paro has been working as a researcher for the Andrade Gutierrez Center of Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability at Fundação Dom Cabral since the end of 2005. Before that, she worked in systems analysis applied to sustainability at Lund University, and on corporate social responsibility at the Ethos Institute of Business and Social Responsibility. She has a degree in agricultural engineering from the University of the Estate of São Paulo and a master’s degree in Sustainability and Environmental Science from Lund University.

James Ng'ombe is a publisher and trader in educational books, a writer of fiction, drama, children's literature and school textbooks, and an educator and trainer of journalists. One of Malawi's most distinguished and prolific authors, he has published numerous works on political themes, including the novels Sugarcane with Salt (1989) and Madala's Children (1996). Since 1995 Dr Ng’ombe has been managing director and co-proprietor of Jhango Heinemann, formerly Jhango Publishing House. He previously managed educational publishers Dzuka Publishing and he was executive director of the Malawi Institute of Journalism.

Melissa Peneycad has recently completed her Master of Environmental Studies at York University, Toronto, Ontario. Her graduate research explored equitable solutions to poverty alleviation, with a focus on women’s entrepreneurship and the mutual relationship between social capital and enterprise development and growth in East Africa. Melissa is an alumna of the Care Enterprise Partners MBA Internship Program 2006, and currently works as a consultant and client service manager with TerraChoice Environmental Marketing in Ottawa, Ontario.

Odette Ramsingh is director-general in the Public Service Commission and her work revolves around the research, investigation, monitoring and evaluation of the South African Public Service. She has an MBA from the University of Cape Town; a BA and LLB from the University of Natal; a Senior Executive Programme Certificate from the Harvard Business School; and an MA in Governance and Development from the University of Sussex, UK.

Josef Seitz has 17 years’ experience as an expert in the fields of environment and sustainable business development. Working for the German development agency GTZ, he has advised the government of Morocco and the private sector in Argentina, among others. In 2005, he became regional coordinator for the Life Environment Programme of the European Commission in France. In 2006, he founded Global21, a consulting company that focuses on the interface between business, environment and development (

Mike Valente is an assistant professor in Strategy and Sustainability at the Faculty of Business, University of Victoria, having completed his PhD in Strategic Management and Business Sustainability at the Schulich School of Business. His areas of interest are the resource-based view of the firm and institutional theory in the context of sustainable development, corporate social responsibility and social entrepreneurship. Mike has received numerous awards, including the Governor General’s Gold Medal Award.


Unisa Press publishes peer-reviewed and independent academic books and more than thirty accredited academic journals; on a range of subject fields; from art history, architecture to books on psychology, sociology and African studies and the social sciences in general. Currently it is one of the largest university presses in Southern Africa, with several copublishing partners across the globe.

United Nations University Press is the scholarly publishing division of UNU, which emphasises research that addresses international policies and the issues facing the United Nations and its people and member states, particularly in the fields of peace and governance, multilateralism, and environmental and sustainable development.

The Centre for Corporate Citizenship (CCC) within the College of Economic and Management Sciences at the University of South Africa (UNISA) provides training and education; conducts  research and creates a platform for information sharing. Currently, the CCC teaches Corporate Governance and Corporate Citizenship as short learning programmes focusing on CC in the African context and seeks to provide basic and above all practical understanding on how companies can better contribute to sustainable development in Africa.

We need to ask the question, how do we create a new generation of globally responsible leaders? The Business of Sustainable Development in Africa is part of the response to this question – providing a vital contribution to the Corporate Citizenship debate in Africa and beyond.  Its strength lies in its practical demonstration of the issues through case studies combined with conceptual reasoning.  It highlights and celebrates the tension and positive energy between business objectives and sustainable development through critical reflection and alternative paradigms.  The book will challenge you with new concepts and practical innovation, whether you are a student, an academic or a business person.

(Derick de Jongh, Centre for Corporate Citizenship).