Purpose – In this editorial the Guest Editor attempts to link the idea of sustainable development in Africa to the different contributions that have been made by papers written on varied business disciplines. Design/methodology/approach – The papers in this special issue represent “best papers” that were selected during the 3rd International Business Conference (IBC) held in Zanzibar, Tanzania in 2009, addressing the theme of business challenges and sustainable solution, under the overarching conference theme of sustainable futures. The papers cover a wide range of business challenges and remedies in an interdisciplinary manner via a range of sub-disciplines ranging from human resources management and entrepreneurship training to HIV/AIDS in the workplace and gender buying patterns of German tourists. Findings – Presenting the notion of sustainable development as a means of confronting business challenges is an interdisciplinary undertaking, in which business disciplines and business methods logically play a role. Although these papers address important business challenges that are pertinent to the development of Africa, they only implicitly and indirectly talk to sustainability philosophies or approaches. In essence, they address issues that have interesting implications for sustainable development and futures thinking and strategies albeit industry-sector or firm levels. Originality/value – The discussion in this special issue focuses on the implications of the contributions to the generic field of sustainable development. The main aim is to encourage academics to begin engaging with a kind of futures thinking, with particular focus on the main issues of sustainable development, whilst bearing in mind the principal aims of the millennium development goals for Africa.
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