Chinas rising impact in Sub-Saharan Africa and the use of child labour: is there room for corporate social responsibility?

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Pinto, Ines Alexandra : Castanheira
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China‘s increasing rise in Africa has been the topic of many studies and debates in recent years. How Chinese investments and MNEs presence on the continent impact child labour, particularly children‘s right to be free from economic exploitation, and in general African labour standards have, however, received little attention. Drawing on the insights of a country case-study of Chinese mining companies in Katanga, Democratic Republic of Congo, where evidence of exploitation of child labour has been found, this thesis will start by providing a brief and broad overview of the Sino-African engagement and its main features to contextualize the motives of much of the critique, followed by elaborated considerations on the importance of considering labour rights as human rights as well as to shed some light on the issue of child labour itself through an analysis of the international legal protection, instruments and concerns on the issue. Finally, the aim of this study is, therefore, to examine whether or not there is indeed a role for corporate social responsibility to play in Sino-African economic partnership. The already existing conceptions of corporate social responsibility (CSR) will probably need to be adjusted in order to reflect the real Sino-African context and include prominent issues, such as child labour. In this context, a non-exhaustive analysis of possible codes of conduct will be identified to highlight the trends with regard to CSR, particularly in relation to children. Initiatives and standards that may be used as a basis for Chinese companies to further adhere or ground their activities. Moreover, it is concluded that Chinese ‗business culture‘ needs to develop more responsible standards and a higher understanding to uptake CSR standards and practices when operating in Africa
Second semester University: University of Nottingham
business corporations, China, child labour, Africa, social responsibility