Why African CEOs are playing it safe

Chief executives of some eighty-three African conglomerates remain a worried lot. This is according to the latest revelations by Audit Firm PWC, contained in the newly released 2019 African Business Agenda Report.

Frustrations arising from uncertainty brought about by political, social and economic threats are primarily to blame.

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Poor quality workforce, Cyber threats, and concerns about over-regulation by government watchdogs are also among key pain points that have been keeping African CEOs awake at night.

“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 not see opportunities on the continent-but overall, they are playing it safe”, says Peter Ngahu, Senior Partner at PWC.

For instance, about thirteen percent of Kenyan CEO’s running blue-chip corporations appear less certain about expansion plans outside their home markets. CEOs are instead turning to operational efficiencies and Organic growth among other activities to drive revenue growth.

When it comes to Information technology, African CEOs have been on the receiving end where despite massive investments in IT infrastructure, CEOs have complained about receiving poor quality or inadequate data crucial for decision-making purposes, limiting their appetite for risk.  

CEOs, however, agreed that technological advances are among top trends that have transformed their workplaces. In fact, they expect Artificial intelligence (AI) to have a much greater impact on their businesses more than the internet itself.

Across nineteen African counties, one hundred and seventy-one CEO’s of companies doing revenues of more than One hundred million a year participated in the PWC survey. Read the full report here.

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