Since the commencement of petroleum extraction in Ghana in 2010, there has been growing concern about the relevance of the industry, especially to host-communities living in the country's coastal areas. In their quest for social acceptance, petroleum extraction companies in Ghana undertake various projects through their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes. Based on fieldwork in Ghana's south-western coastal region and an analysis of in-depth interviews conducted amongst a variety of interested stakeholders in the area, this paper shows that these projects are mainly selective and geared towards winning the support of powerful stakeholders, instead of addressing the concerns of vulnerable groups (e.g. fisherfolk), who may be affected. This approach towards the selection of CSR projects has implications for the way in which these companies are sanctioned by the regulatory bodies and perceived by local stakeholder groups, especially the fisherfolk. This paper proposes a rethink of CSR to move beyond philanthropism and voluntarism towards tackling the actual impact of the companies’ activities on vulnerable communities whose livelihood and well-being may depend on such natural resources. A reassessment is also needed to engender a greater level of trust and cooperation between petroleum companies and local stakeholders, particularly, local communities.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
I thank the informants who devoted their time to share information with me, and the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. I wish to also thank the University of Bergen, the Norwegian State Educational Loan Fund, for funding my MPhil. study through which this research was conducted.
- Offshore petroleum extraction
- Social acceptance
- Local communities