Business, the SDGs, and COVID -19 in Africa: How are companies responding to different objectives, timeframes, and contexts?


We invite you to participate in our one-year research project focused on how businesses in Africa are responding to long-term development aspirations, while also responding to the COVID-19 crisis. We will study companies in their national context in Kenya, Nigeria, Mauritius, and South Africa. The project has received funding from a consortium including B Lab, Sistema B, B Academics, and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC).

We seek to explore how African companies are integrating longer-term sustainable development objectives and targets into their strategies, and whether the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG[2] s), as laid out by the United Nations, are providing a useful framework for this process. (The SDGs do not need to feature explicitly in case study companies’ strategies). We are also interested in how these companies are working to achieve such strategies, and how all of this is shaped by the COVID-19 crisis.

Over and above scholarly publications, we seek to generate direct and tangible benefits for the participants, as well as other practitioners and policy-makers. We will offer dedicated opportunities for discussion among our research participants, including company managers, policy-makers, and others, and we will share emerging findings on our project website and in op-eds.

As a participant, we would ask that between now and mid-2021:

  • you make yourself available for two interviews;

  • you participate in two online discussions with other participants;

  • you recommend two or three of your colleagues, whom we might enroll as participants.

Our project will be guided by the ethical requirements of our three host universities, and we have formal ethical clearance from each of them. Any information you provide will be held in confidence among our group. You and your organisation will remain anonymous in any articles that we publish – unless you give us permission to use your name and / or that of your organisation. If we refer to you or your organisation in an article (anonymously or not), we will give you a chance to correct such text for factual accuracy. You may withdraw your participation at any time.

Thank you for considering this. We hope you will join us. Your participation is important to us, and we hope it will also offer significant benefits to you and your organisation.