10th Annual EABIS Colloquium



A new era of development: the changing role & responsibilities of business in developing countries. 


26-28 October 2011

INSEAD, Fontainebleau



During the last few years, profound shifts have taken place in geopolitics and economic power. The rapid industrialisation of China, India and other emerging economies is already placing severe demands on natural resources, while global governance bodies struggle to reach consensus on frameworks that will nurture sustainable growth. 


The rise in “south-south” trade has also challenged the hegemony of western world norms in trade and business around transparency, governance and ethics. But while more business is being done in developing countries, there is little agreement about the responsibilities of business in development.


At the same time food, health, poverty and education issues as well as corruption and bribery in developing countries require urgent action from governments, business (and business schools) and NGOs. In 2000 the United Nations launched its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), seeking to inspire collective global action around critical dimensions of social, economic and environmental progress in the poorer countries on earth. Despite significant progress, the original objectives set for 2015 are far from being achieved. 


The response from business to these challenges will be potentially the single most important factor in determining whether a new era of development achieves the objective of sustainable and inclusive growth.  

The relevance of development for business is increasingly clear. A recent report by World Bank Vice President Otaviano Canuto argues that developing countries will be engines of growth and could carry the world economy in the future, provided they have a clear strategy. If so, there may be enormous opportunities for nimble companies to claim market leadership by helping developing countries to establish these growth strategies. For example, firms which integrate development concerns into their business model will be ideally placed to secure long-term licences to operate, develop loyal new consumer bases, and innovate in new market segments. A different role for business in development will certainly emerge. But what will be its parameters, objectives and responsibilities? 


The key requirements for a new era need to be analyzed now, and sustainable strategies must be created.


Two unique challenges to business in developing countries are already clear: 

  1. Defining strategies and partnerships that enhance the stability and sustainability of business and market development;
  2. Companies must innovate to deliver profitable products and services in developing countries, building on synergies in product development and fulfilment across countries, but also accounting for national and regional differences and constraints. 


Themes that arise from this double challenge include:

  • Taking stock of successes and failures in development over the past 50 years
  • Identifying the major factors that will underpin a new era of development
  • Showcasing business innovation in response to critical challenges in developing countries
  • Shaping a new agenda for integrating development in management practice, research & education


The EABIS Annual Colloquium will address these new and old challenges with an interdisciplinary approach including social sciences, economics, applied sciences & technology. It will be the place for knowledge exchange, setting a new agenda in business research and education, and opening the field of CR to development issues and perspectives



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