Call for Papers
Theme: The ethics of African development and the development of
Type: 18th Annual Business Ethics Conference
Institution: Business Ethics Network of Africa (BEN-Africa)
Location: Mombasa (Kenya)
The conference is an international platform for stakeholders from the
private sector, the public sector, non-profit organisations and
academia to come together to reflect, to discuss and to respond to
the opportunities and challenges related to developmental
interventions in Africa from a business ethics perspective, as well
as to reflect on the development of an African business ethos, and
its compatibility with typically Western notions of business ethics.
On the brink of greatness, Africa has soared in its economic
endeavours, especially in the area of investment. The continent’s
wealth of natural resources makes Africa an attractive investment
destination. But, in spite of continued investment, poverty remains a
burning issue. The reasons for this, be they corruption, unethical
investment or bribery, call 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 cultures? 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 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.
The conference theme is ‘The ethics of African development & the
development of African ethic’. Any paper that addresses this theme,
or the wider theme of business ethics in Africa, will be considered.
Suggested sub-themes include:
- What meaning is given to ‘development’ in the sense of progress,
well-being or improvement?
- Which values underlie this meaning of ‘development’ and which
values in practice determine the allocation of attention and the
prioritizations made in development processes? Are values of human
well-being, justice and human dignity adequately reflected in
practice? How can attention to those values be supported?
- Who is gaining and who is losing in social change? Who bears the
costs of ‘development’? Is it fair?
- Why do unfair arrangements arise?
- How effective has development aid to Africa been?
- What are the true intentions and motivations of development
agencies? Do they consider Africa’s unique cultures?
- How do recipients of aid programs and funds experience development
- How should we respond to the painful—sometimes ‘cruel’—choices
between different values and groups that can arise in development
- How can one construct well-reasoned alternatives to prevailing
practices that violate values of justice, well-being and dignity, in
ways of thinking and in strategy, policy and practice?
- Who has responsibilities (and response-abilities) – to act, to
desist, to compensate – in regard to violations of values of
justice, human well-being and dignity?
- How can we apply indigenous African institutional models, cultural
norms, and Ubuntu values to business ethics?
- 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?
- How can African communitarianism enhance our ethical discourse?
- Are Ubuntu and free market capitalism incompatible?
- Is a relational ethic like Ubuntu better able to ground our ethical
obligations than individualism?
- Can Ubuntu provide a strong basis for sustainability and
- Developments in business ethics teaching and practice.
- Defining the business ethics agenda for Africa: Contextual
challenges and opportunities.
- Managing ethics in African companies and organisations.
- Poverty and sustainability: defining the challenges and the way
Scholars and other experts from around the world are invited to
submit industry and academic papers and posters that address the
theme of ‘The ethics of African development & the development of
African ethic’ (please see below for suggested sub-themes). However,
any papers dealing with business or organisational ethics in Africa
will be considered.
The conference language is English. The abstract of the papers and
posters will be reviewed for relevance and rigour. Abstract
submissions should be sent electronically to Kevin Behrens at:
- August 31, 2019:
Deadline for abstract submissions (500-1,000 words) and for full
papers for potential publication in the African Journal of Business
- September 30, 2019:
Confirmation of acceptance to present at the Conference
- November 7-8, 2018:
Conference. The presentation parallel sessions will take place on
Day 1 of the conference - 7th November.
- December 9, 2019:
Re-submission of revised, full papers for external review (single
blind peer review)
- January 15 –March 15, 2020:
Completion of external review, and feedback to authors
- Mid-May 2020:
Publication of papers in the African Journal of Business Ethics
Please note that abstract submissions are adequate if you only intend
on presenting at the conference. If, however, you are interested in
publishing your paper in the African Journal of Business Ethics, the
above deadlines must please be adhered to. We are also pleased to
announce the Aloe award for the best conference paper. The winner
will be announced at the conference and will receive a signed copy of
Rossouw and Van Vuuren’s Business Ethics (6th edition). In order to
be eligible for this award, your full paper must be submitted by 31
August 2019. BEN-Africa reserves the right not to make the award
should an insufficient amount of full papers be received by the
Presenters are required to register and pay for the conference, the
conference fee being $50 for presenters ($200 for other delegates)
and to make the own way to the conference.
For details on the preparation of full papers, please see the ‘Author
Guidelines’ for the African Journal of Business Ethics, available
Registration and Conference Website
To register for the conference and for information on accommodation,
transport and the programme, please see: