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Outlook of African business leaders positive for 2010

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Outlook of African business leaders positive for 2010

15th December 2009

By: Sapa

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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% 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% 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% 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% and 30% of votes respectively.

"This echoes last year's survey in which 31% 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 US prompted a mixed reaction, with only 17% 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%) 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, MD 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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