"Farming and agribusiness play a crucial role in sustaining the economies of small towns and rural areas. There is a lot of evidence of this in the economic literature and in the popular media. This dependency has its inherent risks.
International literature tends to focus on the devastation of small towns in times of drought or when farming lobby groups argue for particular policies. In South Africa, a different pattern has emerged. This is when municipalities fail to provide basic services to their communities and businesses. These services include water and sanitation, electricity, roads and technological infrastructure."
There are growing expectations across the world for companies to show their commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR). This is especially so for large multinational companies. Their size, influence and geographic spread make such responsibility all the more important.
But, in reality, how do multinationals respond both to global norms and diverse local expectations?
In a recent open letter to international funders for research and development, we highlighted multiple power imbalances and appealed to the funders to help build a more equitable ecosystem.
In this second letter, we urgently call on our own African political and research leaders to take greater responsibility to streamline research programmes and funding. We emphasise that responsibility for addressing the current gaps in research and development lies with the international community – as well as with African governments and their institutions.
After good summer rains, the dams that supply water to Johannesburg and much of South Africa’s economic heartland are full. This, then, is the time to start worrying about water supplies.
It may sound odd but it’s a lesson learnt from cities across the world over the past two decades. Whether it was Sydney and Melbourne in Australia, Chennai in India, Barcelona in Spain or São Paulo in Brazil, we have seen that, too often, water crises occur because societies don’t take action until it’s already too late.