PwC: Africa’s CEOs seize the opportunities that uncertainty brings

dion shangoDion Shango, CEO for PwC Southern Africa. (Image source: PwC/Africa-Newsroom)CEOs will need to focus on their business strategies and processes and will be expected to play a part in the broader community

Notwithstanding the current economic and socio-political uncertainty, numerous companies in Africa are still positive about the growth potential of the continent. PwC research across the continent shows that 91 per cent of CEOs are confident about their own companies’ growth prospects in the medium term. “This is the highest level of confidence since we started our research on CEOs in Africa in 2012,” Hein Boegman CEO for PwC Africa says.

Boegman was speaking on the challenges and opportunities facing Africa’s CEOs at a press briefing held by PwC at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2017 in Durban today.

One of the reasons why Africa CEOs are positive is that they tend to look to the upside and seize on the opportunities uncertainty brings. Facing a climate of muted growth at best, CEOs recognise that while they focus on organic growth and cost reductions, they also need to prioritise investment in strategic alliances and joint ventures to expand their markets and grow their customer bases.

Despite the level of optimism for growth, CEOs are concerned about uncertain economic growth and the impact this will have on their business. “The returns for doing business on the continent are high, but so are the risks. Africa’s CEOs are operating in difficult times – infrastructure on the continent remains a challenge, finding and retaining the right talent for their businesses, dealing with many of the hurdles that come with working with governments, and managing growth plans across the continent,” Boegman comments.

Given the major changes we are currently seeing in the world – such as the recent US elections and the UK’s vote to leave the EU – a key feature of the current environment is just how difficult it is to read. A single event can trigger a need for wholesale strategic changes. A case in point is the recent political and policy uncertainty in South Africa, and more particularly the recent downgrade in the country’s sovereign debt to junk status. Exchange rate volatility, an increasing tax burden, social instability resulting from inequality, and corruption remain problems in many countries.

Alain Charles Publishing, University House, 11-13 Lower Grosvenor Place, London, SW1W 0EX, UK
T: +44 20 7834 7676, F: +44 20 7973 0076, W: www.alaincharles.com

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