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Many CEOs becoming hopeless on collapsing corporate revenues— PwC Africa

Key findings from the 7th edition of PwC’s Africa Business Agenda 2019 report, launched at the biannual World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on Wednesday, include that “African business leaders are less optimistic about the strength of the global economy and their organisations’ ability to grow revenues in both the short and medium term than they were a year ago.”

The report also believed that “A quarter of African CEOs (25%) believe that the global economy will decline over the next 12 months.

According to the report, the unease about global economic growth is also dampening CEOs’ confidence about their own companies’ outlook in the short term, with 27% of CEOs stating they are ‘very confident’ in their own companies’ prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months. Furthermore, only 39% are ‘very confident’ about their organisations’ growth prospects over the next three years.

In his remarks on the survey findings, Dion Shango, CEO for PwC Africa, observed that “As they look forward to the year ahead, African CEOs are less confident about the prospects for the global economy than they were a year ago. The same is true when they consider the prospects for their own organisation’s growth.

“In Africa, economic and policy uncertainty, among other issues, have cast some doubt upon business leaders’ hopes for immediate and future 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.”

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 of operating in Africa.

However, notwithstanding the current economic climate and other challenges, there is notable optimism among business leaders about the potential to unlock more growth on the continent. While the US, China and the UK continue to be the most dominant traditional markets for growth opportunities, it is notable that 20% of African CEOs ‘don’t know’ where else to look for growth and 5% say there is ‘no other country’ they would look to. The report suggests this may reflect the current economic and political climate.