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China's new approach to CSR in Congo: is the leverage turning to China?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 15:04 authored by Qingxiu BuQingxiu Bu
China has been the world’s fastest growing economy in the past 30 years with its enterprises rapidly emerging and becoming leading players globally. In particular, the progressive integration into the international system has been spurred by China’s entry into the global trading regime of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in 2001. The ‘‘go global’’ policy has been facilitating the rapidly growing engagement on the African continent of Chinese multinational companies (MNCs). As a promising tri-polar global economic entity, its growth of relations with Africa has been both unprecedented and impressive. As the Sino-Africa economic and business partnership surges forward,2 the matter of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is increasingly becoming an imperative ingredient for any successful business. It is noteworthy that responsible corporate citizens should take account of the impact of their investment on both economic and social arenas. However, it still remains uncertain what role Chinese MNCs have been playing in the continent’s sustainable development. A Sino-Congo deal seems a positive way for-ward, accelerating the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (hereinafter referred to as Congo) regional economy, depressed due to years of war. Meanwhile, the escalating investment into Congo has raised controversies for its no-attachment policy, with increasing pressure imposed on China’s MNCs to take CSR more seriously. Particular concerns are focused on the multinationals’ inadequate environmental and human rights protection. The recent massive infrastructure investment is arguably perceived as a different interpretation of CSR, which has aroused a hot debate about whether China is heading for status as a responsible stakeholder in the international community. It is conducive to clarifying the paradoxical issue by addressing whether China’s recent approaches have the potential to facilitate CSR initiatives or hinder them in the long run.


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International Business Law Journal




Sweet & Maxwell



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