Corporate Social Responsibility at the heart of La Francophonie in Kinshasa

The speakers, including Ms. Carole Robert

Each year, countries around the world celebrate the French language.

In Kinshasa, Canada united this celebration of Francophone legacies and culture with a modern take on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as it relates to resource development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is a country with great mining potential. Many foreign companies, several of which are Canadian, make use of its natural resources. And yet, many populations close to the mining areas live in great poverty.

It was with this in mind that the Canadian Embassy organized a conference-debate to discuss "Corporate Social Responsibility: From theory to practice".

According to Senator Flungu, President of the Commission on Natural Resources, the notion of social responsibility remains ambiguous in the DRC’s current Mining Code, as the scope and breadth of the mining companies’ obligations are unclear.

The event was designed not only to improve the Congolese public's understanding of CSR but also to promote Canadian companies as sensitive, experienced and responsible partners who contribute to the development of local communities.

Exhibits were presented by Congolese experts in the field and by one Canadian woman who brought a very promising perspective to the table. The audience was able to hear Senator Flore Flungu; the Director of the NGO South African Resources Watch; and the Head of the Legal Department of the Mining Registry that, among other things, handles the distribution of lands for prospection and exploitation. Ms. Carole Robert, founder of the Canadian NGO Biotechnology for Sustainable Development in Africa, closed the presentation with a case study of practical and sustainable CSR implementations.

The diverse audience—ambassadors, international organizations, a former deputy prime minister, business leaders, union and civil society members, senior public administration representatives, academics, as well as media representatives—not only listened to the presentations with interest, but participated actively in the lively debate that followed.   

The event brought together Francophone economic and social concerns in one package that is sure to spark continuing conversations in the future. Canada is committed to fostering economic prosperity and responsible resource development in the DRC and around the world.