Outlook of African business leaders positive for 2010

2009-12-15 08:52

Business leaders in Africa are maintaining a positive outlook for

2010, results of a survey released on Tuesday found.

The 2010 africapractice survey indicated that 95 percent of

business leaders expected to expand their business operations over the coming

year.

On the whole, the survey’s results supported the growing belief

that Africa was beginning to recover from the financial crisis.

It found that 100 percent of respondents anticipated levels of

foreign direct investment (FDI) to rise in 2010, with the majority expected to

come from China.

This represented a much-improved outlook when compared to last

year’s survey, in which 69 percent of respondents predicted a reduction in FDI

flows.

When asked what they thought would be the biggest challenges to

their business in 2010, executives were split between access to credit and

availability of talent, which received 35 percent and 30 percent of votes

respectively.

“This echoes last year’s survey in which 31 percent of respondents

cited talent as the biggest concern,” the survey said.

Physical infrastructure and legislative environments were also

cited as potential growth limitations.

The survey found that the future role of the United States prompted

a mixed reaction, with only 17 percent of business leaders expecting the

President Barack Obama administration to have a positive influence on

Africa.

“However, there is a consensus of optimism surrounding the impact

of the Fifa World Cup, although most (54 percent) believe that benefits will be

felt only in South Africa itself,” the survey said.

The majority of respondents cited advancements in technological

infrastructure as being more significant for business opportunity than

politics.

The survey indicated that increased intra-African business and

moving away from a reliance on international exports was key to Africa’s private

sector development.

“The biggest market for Africa is Africa herself,” said Alasdair

Munn, director of Rebuild Zimbabwe.

“Growth in private investment and empowering communities has

greater potential for Africa than just exports.”

Marcus Courage, managing director of africapractice, said it was

“fantastic” to hear business leaders speaking so positively about Africa again,

with so many expecting their businesses to grow significantly in 2010.

“However, finding talent and access to credit are recurring

challenges, which should act as a clarion call to both government and the

private sector about where investment needs to be made, in order to facilitate

and encourage further growth,” he said.

The survey was carried out by strategic communications consultancy

africapractice.

It was conducted in the last two weeks of November 2009 and 37

executives from telecoms, beverages, banking, media, private equity and mining

businesses, all of them invested in Africa, were interviewed.


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