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Africa gets new voice on business ethics

October 2000

A new business ethics body for African countries is to hold its founding convention in Kenya this month.

The Business Ethics Network for Africa (BEN-Africa) will use the meeting in Nairobi on 26 and 27 October to set up a formal structure and work out policies on a number of issues, including a strategy to encourage the formation of business ethics courses in African universities.

The network, created in April last year, already has members in 33 countries , mostly business people or academics.

Its president, Professor Deon Rossouw of Rands Afrikaans University in South Africa, said it had been set up to help the African business community 'find its own voice' on business ethics matters. 'We need to make the business ethics voice of Africa become articulate and audible within the global community,' he added.

BEN-Africa's aims are to:

compile a database of people and organizations with 'proven practical or theoretical expertise of business ethics'

'facilitate interaction' on business ethics through conferences, workshops and publications

carry out research into business ethics.

It has already begun gathering examples of ethical business codes on the continent, is developing guidelines for African companies on how to deal with HIV and AIDS in the workplace, and is working on ways of offering protection to whistleblowers who uncover dubious business practices.




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