BrandArena: Nigeria: CSR, A Tool of Economic Development

Thursday 2 June 2011

Nigeria: CSR, A Tool of Economic Development

So far, corporate social responsibility is yet to play a vital role in Nigeria, and has not been the subject of a wider public discussion. Many Nigerian companies regard CRS as charity and a form of generosity to the society.

This element explores how the organization creates networks and partnerships within its CSR agenda. The relationships that the organization create and utilize are a vital part of the character of the organization. The quality of the relationships determines the success of the organization.

CSR initiatives in Nigeria have a positive impact on the society but what can also be observed in the theoretical findings is that many of the CSR initiatives are ad hoc and not always sustainable, sometimes even generating negative impacts on society. What the empirical research show is that the organizations involved in the field study all have similar programmatic areas, as for example community growth and health. These areas are of course of great significance if Nigeria is going to reach sustainable development.

In addition to benefiting society, CSR activities are often undertaken as a way of promoting a company’s image. Nigeria has a well-established “culture of charity”; wealthy individuals and institutions contribute to charitable causes and use these contributions to garner positive publicity. In this respect there is little difference between the political realm and private industry.

Companies in Nigeria are expected to promote transparency, even beyond what is required by law. This is encouraged by the government, which has made it clear that it has certain expectations, particularly of foreign enterprises. So far, however, there has been little response from companies despite the high priority attached to this topic because of Nigeria’s widespread corruption. Sustainable business activity is discussed by NGOs and the media, but not by the wider public.

According to the theoretical findings there are a myriad of definitions of CSR, each valuable in their own right, defined to fit the organization in question. According to the empirical findings this seems to apply for Nigeria as well with varying definitions in different organizations. It also appears that the majority of the organizations have adopted CSR definitions from the West.

Findings also revealed that philanthropic motive has the highest priority in Nigeria as well. This is confirmed by the empirical findings that show that the Nigerian companies in the field study perceive and practice CSR as corporate philanthropy primarily aimed at addressing socio-economic development challenges.

So far, development organizations in Nigeria have not had a great deal of experience working with companies in the field of CSR. This is due in part to their relatively limited areas of activity, as well as to the fact that companies in Nigeria – unlike those in most African countries – have a wide range of business opportunities unrelated to development, however, that companies might seek out the expertise of such organizations in the future, as Nigeria’s prospects concerning CSR are prepared more clearly.

If CSR is going to develop as a mean for creating sustainable businesses in Nigeria, as well as improving the conditions of its citizens we might need to consider how a CSR concept can be developed that not only MNEs can embrace but also the SMEs in both the informal and formal sector. The question is how to develop a local/regional agenda that to a great extent has been market-driven as well as a response to concerns of the rich country stakeholders of Nigeria.


  1. Yes I really like your article. The Nigerian Companies need to see CSR as a vehicle that could engender preferability, inspire purchase and brand loyalty for them.

  2. Most countries in Europe do CSR so I think the Nigeria companies, most expecailly the big manufacturers to do more of it.

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