All is quiet on the partnerships front -
: scrutinising power dynamics in cocoa partnerships and their effects on child rights advancement in Ghana

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This research looks at public private partnerships in Ghana and their role in promoting legal compliance with child rights by guaranteeing efficiency and enforcement.

Child rights face a number of obstacles when being enforced in Africa. The causes of poor legal compliance are three-fold: legal transplants as well as exogenous and endogenous causes of poverty. Partnerships among civil society, governments, international organisations and companies try to offer a solution to poor legal advancement, by implementing projects which affect the enforcement and efficiency of child rights.

This research is intended to contribute to the literature which already exists in relation to partnerships and human rights, and make a strong contribution to the existing reflections on the role of partnerships in human rights advancement. Given cocoa partnerships have a long and established history, I decided to use them as case study. The conclusions derive from my field research which involved conducting interviews with chocolate and cocoa companies, NGOs, trade unions and public organisations in the UK, USA, Switzerland and Ghana.

Existing literature on human rights and partnerships tends to provide only a surfaced limited analysis of partnerships. It rests on the claim that multinationals have enormous power and thus prevail in partnerships, ultimately favouring the privatisation of human rights. It seemed important, therefore, to explore in depth the power dynamics between businesses, public organisations and civil society organisations in order to properly understand what has become one of the most popular institutional organisations for the advancement of human rights.
Date of Award2014
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • King's College London
SupervisorPenelope Green (Supervisor) & Keith Ewing (Supervisor)

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