NAIROBI, Kenya, Sept 18 – According to the Africa Business Agenda report, a large proportion of African CEOs at 93 percent 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 percent.
However, faced with some uncertainty around current markets, CEOs are turning inward to drive revenue growth.
African CEOs identified operational efficiencies at 80 percent, organic growth at 76 percent and the launch of a new products and services at 58 percent as their primary drivers of revenue growth.
The Agenda compiles results from a survey of 83 CEOs across 19 African countries.
The results are benchmarked against the findings of PwC’s 22nd Annual Global CEO survey of more than 1 300 CEOs, conducted during the 4th quarter of 2018.
The Agenda provides an in-depth analysis and insights into how businesses are adapting to meet the challenges and opportunities of operating in Africa.
Commenting on the survey findings, 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.
“In our survey, we found that CEOs recognise technological advances among the most transformative global trends.
Technological advances and data
The forces of globalisation and technology are transforming the workplace. A high percentage of African CEOs at 83 percent ranked technological advances among the top three trends to have transformed the workplace most in the past five years.
Despite massive investments in technology, CEOs identified a vast gap between the data they need to inform decision-making and the adequacy of the data they receive. African CEOs say that their primary concerns are poor data quality and data that is trapped in silos.
Main risks on the Agenda
Ongoing economic, social and political uncertainty is a perennial worry for CEOs globally, not least for those in Africa. Concerns over policy uncertainty, skills shortage, over-regulation and exchange rate volatility lead the long list of risks causing anxiety for CEOs.
Africa’s CEOs’ are mostly concerned about socio-political and economic threats, with 41 percent ‘extremely concerned’ about uncertain economic growth, unemployment 33 percent; populism 33 percent, exchange rate volatility 42 percent and inadequate basic infrastructure 35 percent.
Amongst business threats, 43 percent of African CEOs said they were ‘extremely concerned’ about over regulation, 35 percent cited cyber threats, and 45 percent were ‘extremely concerned’ about the availability of key skills.