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‘Corporate Social Responsibility, Transparency and Governance in Sub-Saharan African Petro-States: A Critical Overview’

Research into governance in oil-rich sub-Saharan African, and analysis of how multinational petroleum corporations are embracing CSR in the region.

Department: Agriculture, Agriculture, Policy and Development

Supervised by: Dr Gavin Hilson

The Placement Project

The student will explore the issue of oil, governance and transparency in the ‘New Gulf’ (Nigeria/Gabon/ Equatorial Guinea/Cameroon/Congo-Brazzaville/Angola) of sub-Saharan Africa, and examine how multinational corporations are embracing CSR in the area. He/she will carry out literature searches, collect baseline data (production statistics, information contained in Human Development Reports, etc.) and review corporate reports. His/her analysis will: 1) contribute to research being undertaken by the PI that aims to explain how Ghana, scheduled to begin drilling for oil in Nov-2010, can avoid the problems experienced by its oil-rich neighbours; 2) inform a grant proposal, to be submitted to the ESRC in December 2010, which aims to explore the second part of the puzzle – namely, gaining an understanding of the CSR strategies of multinational corporations that will drill for oil in Ghana; and 3) gather complementary information for two new lectures – ‘Oil and Governance’ and ‘Natural Resource Conflicts’ – that will be delivered on the supervisor’s Extractive Industries, The Environment and Developing Societies (IDM 068) in 2010-2011. The work will complement a host of projects on the extractive industries being undertaken by the supervisor. Broadly, this research examines how multinational mining and petroleum companies are responding to the CSR challenge in developing countries, and examines the extent to which the revenue from extractive industry operations are influencing development in sub-Saharan Africa. The placement promises to refine the student’s research and writing skills, and will provide excellent preparation for someone looking to pursue a postgraduate degree in international development.

Tasks

As indicated, the student will be asked to carry out literature reviews, collate data, and identify and synthesize selected corporate reports. A structured plan will be provided to the student on a weekly basis, detailing his/her tasks. As the project progresses and the student becomes more familiar with the work, it is expected that he/she will assume greater responsibility in identifying the weekly/bi-weekly set of tasks. The expected breakdown of tasks will be as follows: 70% research and data collection, and 30% analysis and writing.

Skills, knowledge and experience required

The student must have good computer skills, excellent research/writing skills, be able to work with minimal supervision, and know how to conduct searches for electronic resources using The University of Reading’s facilities. Preference will be given to students enrolled in a social sciences program (specializing in business management/area studies/political science/geography/environmental/natural resources).

Skills which will be developed during the placement

The student must have good computer skills, excellent research/writing skills, be able to work with minimal supervision, and know how to conduct searches for electronic resources using The University of Reading’s facilities. Preference will be given to students enrolled in a social sciences program (specializing in business management/area studies/political science/geography/environmental/natural resources).

Place of Work

New Agricultural Building Room 2L35

Hours of Work

40 per week

Approximate Start and End Dates (not fixed)

Unknown - Unknown

How to Apply

The student must have good computer skills, excellent research/writing skills, be able to work with minimal supervision, and know how to conduct searches for electronic resources using The University of Reading’s facilities. Preference will be given to students enrolled in a social sciences program (specializing in business management/area studies/political science/geography/environmental/natural resources).


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