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Globalization: economic development and human rights crossroad for African countries

Samuel E. Ojogbo


This paper addresses the problem of corporate human rights violations in Africa. The factors that promote corporate impunity for human rights violations as identified by current scholarship are the mismatch between the current corporate structure and the rules of corporate law, the insensitivity of African governments and the almost complete lack of access to judicial remedy for human rights victims in Africa. However, current efforts that seek to address the problem of corporate human violations in Africa fail to recognise the link between demand for foreign investment by African countries and disregard for human rights. As a result, there is scholarship and regulatory focus on human rights as the basis for corporate responsibility. This paper argues that the focus on human rights as a basis for corporate accountability for human rights is misplaced. A doctrinal analysis of the current corporate legal architecture shows how its application to 21st century multinational corporations creates the opportunity for corporations to disregard human rights. The paper concludes that incorporating those mostly affected by corporate decisions and activities into the decision-making process will be an appropriate alternative to ensure human rights and environmental friendly decision-making, rather than relying on the weak and corrupt legal enforcement institutions.

Keywords: Globalisation; Africa; Economic Development; Human Rights