Lompo K, Trani JF (2013). Development projects of petroleum companies in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria: beyond looking good, the real impact on community participation and human development. Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, 14(2): 241-265.

Oil companies have been facing criticism linked to their activities in developing countries from various human rights organizations as well as non-governmental organizations and the media. To change this negative perception, companies have been increasingly promoting corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, which aim at improving living conditions of local communities in oil exploitation areas. In this paper, we explore the impact on the well-being of communities of two kinds of CSR initiatives implemented in two areas of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria. Using multidimensional exploratory methods and checking for robustness using binary logistic regression, we investigate the outcome of CSR initiatives on individuals’ empowerment, community participation, and access to basic capabilities such as education, health, shelter, electricity, water and sanitation. Our results show that there is a limited benefit in terms of human development for the population. However, the impact differs according to the strategy of implementation: ‘top-down’ non-participatory approaches to CSR extend the access to basic capabilities for some privileged socio-economic groups, while ‘bottom-up’ participatory approaches positively impact collective capabilities of the whole community, but these more recent initiatives have, to date, little effect on the expansion of basic capabilities.