There is notable optimism among business leaders about the potential to unlock more growth in Africa according to 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.
African countries are looking at opening their markets to trade through African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCTA) while taking advantage of technological advances and globalization which are among the transformative trends in workplaces.
However, the ongoing economic, social and political uncertainty is a perennial worry for CEO in Africa and globally as it directly touches on the businesses. There are major concerns over policy uncertainty, skills shortage, over-regulation and exchange rate volatility adding up to the long list of risks causing anxiety for CEOs in all regions.
Of business threats, 43% of African CEOs as compared to 35% globally said they were extremely concerned about over-regulation, 35% as compared to 30% globally, cited cyber threats, and 45% as compared to 34% globally were ‘extremely concerned’ about the availability of key skills.
“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,” said Dion Shango, CEO for PwC Africa.
The report also highlighted that African countries contribute less than 3% of global trade, a major concern which could be due to several issues, namely poor infrastructure on the continent, high tariff rates on imports, bureaucracy and red tape, and problems at border posts.