Economic, Social, Political Uncertainty a Concern for African Chief Executives – PwC Report

Economic, Social, Political Uncertainty a Concern for African Chief Executives - PwC Report

Chief executives in Africa are less pessimistic about the future of the global economy citing political, social and economic threats to have increased uncertainty and decreased confidence in revenue prospects.

The report further finds out that chief executives are less anxious about the broad existential threats like climate change and terrorism and are more concerned about the factors that impact the ease of doing business in the markets where they operate and those that impact the overall confidence and willingness to invest.

 Peter Ngahu, Regional Senior Partner for PwC in the East Africa Region, says: “In Africa, economic and policy uncertainty, skills gaps and regulatory issues are among the most pressing issues that CEOs are having to grapple with. African business leaders do see opportunities on the continent – but overall, they are playing it safe.

According to the Africa Business Agenda report, a large proportion of African CEOs (93%) are ‘somewhat confident or ‘very confident’ about their organisation’s prospects for revenue growth over the next three years – higher than the global average of 85%. However, faced with some uncertainty around current markets, CEOs are turning inward to drive revenue growth.

African CEOs identified operational efficiencies (80%), organic growth (76%) and the launch of new products and services (58%) as their primary drivers of revenue growth.

“Although there is a drop in optimism, African business leaders do see some opportunities on the continent – but overall, they are playing it safe,’’ Shango said.

PwC’s 7th Edition of the African Business Agenda themed ‘Playing it safe, released in September, found that “77% of African CEOs now remain cautious about the global economy. Although they expect their companies to grow, they don’t expect their companies to increase headcounts in the same proportion at least over the next 12 months.”

Key concerns in Africa were policy uncertainty (49%), availability of key skills (45%) and over-regulation (43%). The previous top concerns had been social instability, but that has now dropped out of the top three altogether.

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Dion Shango, CEO for PwC Africa said, “Although there is a drop in optimism, African business leaders do see some opportunities on the continent – but overall, they are playing it safe.”