Effects of Multinational Companies on Community Development in Kenya: Case of Eastern Produce Kenya Limited (Epk), Nandi County
Cheror, Edwin Bor
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The role of multinationals in community development cannot be overemphasized. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an important aspect of integrating the community and the companies that are within a given community. It is fundamental that corporate take into consideration the needs of the community beyond the growth of their organizations. Governments in developing countries are faced with great challenge to provide fundamental services to the people and this has left gaps in the community development. The government efforts in development of infrastructure, social amenities, health care, education among others has not been sufficient. It is these gaps that the multinationals are required to fill through initiatives that support the development of communities. However their role in community development is not always understood especially in Africa where they are involved in the production and processing of valuable commodities in agriculture, oil and gas industries. In Nandi County the presence of multinationals dealing with tea production has been very prominent. These multinationals include Eastern Produce Kenya Limited (EPK), James Finlay and Unilever Tea. Eastern Produce Kenya limited is the largest of these multinationals in Nandi East Sub county Chepkunyuk ward with fifteen tea estates and seven tea factories. This study was motivated by the increasing conflict between communities and the multinationals. There have been continued conflicts between the two and the study aims at assessing what role the MNCs play in community development and this assessed their contribution to community development as the main objective of the study. The specific objectives were based on their role in education, social welfare and infrastructural development. The study adopted two theories, the stakeholders’ theory and the theory of legitimacy. The study adopted a descriptive research design which was appropriate to bring out the reality on the role of EPK in community development. The data collected was analyzed and presented in topical discussions, tables and graphs as appropriate. From the study it was found that EPK has played a fundamental role in the community development in Chepkunyuk ward. In education it was evident that EPK has offered bursaries and sponsorship and also taken part in the infrastructure development of the schools. Under the social amenities EPK has played a crucial role in the construction of health facilities, taken part in the construction of churches and social halls. Finally, EPK has been involved in various projects under infrastructural development which include provision of water, maintaining roads and maintenance of playing grounds for various schools. EPK has therefore played an important role in ensuring the development of the community in Chepkunyuk ward.