BEN-Africa 18th Annual Business Ethics Conference
“The ethics of African development & the development of African ethics”
International reflections on developmental interventions in Africa from a business ethics perspective, as well as reflections on the development of an African business ethos, and its compatibility with the Western view of business ethics.
Mombasa, Kenya: 7-8 November 2019
On the brink of greatness, Africa has soared in its economic endeavors especially in the area of investment. The continent’s wealth of natural resources makes Africa an attractive investment destination. But inspite of conitued investment poverty remains a burning issue. The reasons, be it corruption, unethical investment, bribery, calls for continued in-depth discourse and research. The objective of the 18th Annual BEN-Africa Conference is to provide a platform for continuing this discussion.
Added to an influx of financial investments is the continued development aid that Africa has received for decades. But questions need to be asked: How effective has the aid been? What are the true intentions and motivations of development agencies? Do they consider Africa’s unique culture? How do recipients of aid programs and funds experience development aid – Intrinsically motivated goodness on the part of the givers, or short-term ‘hand-outs’ to justify their existence? These are just some of the issues that we want to explore.
The second part of our Conference theme is concerned with the development of African ethics. The African worldview driving much of African values and social thinking is “Ubuntu”. Ubuntu espouses a value system in seeming contradiction with current Western values. Western cultures are primarily founded on the political philosophy of Libertarianism, which places a strong emphasis on the rights of the individual in order to protect and empower them. On the other side of the spectrum resides the political philosophy of Communitarianism, which places an emphasis on the good of the community, and especially during ethical decisions the difference between the two sides becomes apparent. Business ethicists seem to have a preference for a Western business ethics. But organisations on the continent often question the compatibility of a Western view with that of the African view. Whose ethics should be enforced to ensure good governance and a reduction in corruption? Does the West have the right to force its business ethics standards on business on the African continent? These and other matters will be discussed.