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2008 Kapstadt: Business in Local Governance

Business in Local Governance

Workshop hosted by the Research Project: Fostering Regulation? Corporate Social Responsibility in Countries with Weak Regulatory Capacity at the Freie Universität, Berlin and the Graduate School of Business (GSB) of the University of Cape Town


19. September 2008

Graduate School of Business
University of Cape Town
Breakwater Campus, V&A Waterfront



The engagement and influence of multinational companies in emerging economies and countries in transition is often highly contested. In his 2008 report, the UN special representative on business and human rights, John Ruggie, again underlines the multiple challenges arising around governing business activities in areas of limited statehood, which are caused by “governance gaps created by globalisation”. Such gaps result from the global scope and impact of economic activity as opposed to still largely state-based law systems. Yet, specifically at the local level, companies are also confronted with governance gaps that prevail because governments lack the capacity or the will to provide for public goods. Against this background, the workshop discusses the role of transnational companies in local environmental, health and security governance in Africa. Central questions of the workshop are:

  • Under which conditions does business contribute to governance and what are factors that explain local governance failure?
  • What are the potentials and pitfalls of private and public-private governance?
  • How does it relate to state regulation and state capacity on the one hand, and private self-regulation on the other?



In the morning we will discuss the state of research of business and (local) governance in areas of limited statehood with leading experts in the field. We will then split up into working groups on three different fields in which business engages in local governance: One working group sets out to illuminate the role of private actors for the development of HIV/AIDS policies in South Africa. The second discusses the potential for business contributions to managing the trade-offs between the three pillars of sustainable development, and in particular to the integration of environmental concerns with economic growth and social issues. A third working group looks at the role of companies in local security governance, which has increasingly been addressed as part of the business and human rights debate, and focuses on empirical evidence from extractive industries in Southern and Central Africa.

Finally, there will be a discussion that will compare the working groups' findings and will link them to the state of general theories in the field that we discussed in the morning.


Please find the updated program in the menu bar on the right hand side.



The workshop will give various experts and practitioners in the field an opportunity to exchange research findings and practical experiences, and to further develop an understanding of business's potential roles in governance, the conditions of a positive contribution of companies to collective outcomes, but also the pitfalls involved in it. Last year's workshop on business and public policy making (please see the project’s website below) was a great success, as it brought together various different actors and thus led to fascinating new insights for everyone. We are looking forward to repeating this experience in 2008 and to your participation.


To participate:

If you want to participate in the workshop, please fill in the registration form in the menu bar on the right hand side and send it to hoenke@zedat.fu-berlin.de and nicole.kranz@fu-berlin.de. Please do also not hesitate to contact us if you need further information.



Information & Contact:

Jana Hönke, hoenke@zedat.fu-berlin.de
Nicole Kranz, nicole.kranz@fu-berlin.de