Opinion: Does Gambia has good Corporate Citizens?

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While in the Gambia, one question kept lingering in my mind as I moved around town, visited businesses to do transactions and shopping for goods and services… I kept wondering DOES THE GAMBIA HAVE GOOD RESPONSIBLE CORPORATE CITIZENS? For those who may not know, here is the literal dictionary definition of a good Corporate Citizen…

“A Good Corporate Citizenship is a recognition that a business, corporation or business-like organisation, has social, cultural and environmental responsibilities to the community in which it seeks a licence to operate, as well as economic and financial ones to its shareholders or immediate stakeholders”. Meaning successful businesses should not only be concerned about the profits they make from their consumers or pleasing the government in any way they can.. Instead these corporations have a moral responsibility to respect environmental laws, operate in a standard that creates a safe and healthy environment for their consumers. They also can engage as good citizens contribution towards social institutions including hospitals, clinics, schools, and local orphanage or mental institutions.

In Gambia, what we have seen largely is that corporations are raking in millions of Dalasis but totally ignore the social injustices or deteriorating environment in which they operate. Some of these corporations despite their millions does not even have a decent parking lot or pave roads in front of their businesses. Thus it is sometimes risky for consumers to drive or park in front of these businesses. The most shocking part really is that some of the streets these corporations are located in are completely neglected and you can hardly even access the business. The dust that greets you walking into such businesses is enough to kill you instantly… Yes we know it is government’s responsibility to build roads, but if you are a corporation collecting millions in profits you are expected at the very least to contribute towards developing some of these facilities… Your business is as healthy as the population you serve!!!

A bright example that corporations in the Gambia can contribute towards is sponsoring the construction of roads and name the streets after their businesses to promote their brand…. Heck when the dictator was in Banjul these corporations used to donate millions of dalasis towards Jammeh’s foundations. Why couldn’t they donate towards RVTH, Gambia Police force or Nursery schools? Granted we are not saying some don’t contribute at all but for the most part especially foreign companies they simply gather millions of dalasis in profits and completely ignore the well-being of their consumers.

So we have a challenge for Gambian corporations; consider contributing towards building roads and social facilities such as toilets, police facilities such as computers for police stations, police transportation to prevent crimes etc. The anonymous donor who gave the President and the National Assembly almost $40 million dollars can certainly donate towards these facilities…

It is time Gambian citizens hold their corporations accountable to good corporate citizenship or they look to patronize businesses who cares about the environment, the health of citizens and certainly children… In many places in the world employees choose employers based on their involvement in the communities.. Every corporation pretty much as a foundation that contributes to social fabrics of the society. Why not Gambia????

If you know of a good corporation local or international in Gambia who has contributed greatly towards social issues we would like to feature them in a story. For now, from our eye witness reporting, Gambian corporations have not lived up to their expectations as GOOD CORPORATE CITIZENS…. The featured businesses here are just a random sample from thousands of businesses…. Your opinion or comments are highly welcome..

By Demba Baldeh associate editor from eye witness reporting…

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