Thriving in an age of continuous reinvention

Africa Business Agenda

Overview

PwC released its 27th Annual Global CEO Survey which polled 4,702 CEOs in 105 countries and territories from 2 October to 10 November 2023. From a sub-Saharan Africa perspective, 380 CEOs were interviewed, from which we have analysed regional factors in more depth — we call this publication, the PwC Africa Business Agenda.

Findings from our Africa Business Agenda suggest that CEOs in Africa are more optimistic about growth prospects, the longevity of their organisations and the revenue outlook compared to their global counterparts  — 51% of CEOs are more likely to expect global growth to improve in 2024 compared to a 38% global sentiment. A smaller percentage (34%) in Africa expects the global economy to decline as compared to global CEOs (45%). 

CEOs in Africa also report significant revenue growth (16%) over the last year as compared to 12% among CEOs globally. Local or regional opportunities to grow their businesses may explain the relative optimism of Africa CEOs compared to CEOs globally. The past year’s performance is also boosting forward-looking sentiment, with a higher percentage of Africa CEOs reporting growth prospects in their territory over the next 12 months (52%) as compared to global CEOs overall (44%). 

Our report also examines business model reinvention through six lenses namely:

CEOs in Africa are less likely than global CEOs to agree that generative AI will significantly change the way their companies create, deliver and capture value over the next three years. Similarly, they are less likely to agree that generative AI will increase competitive intensity in their industries. While AI is increasingly a feature or attribute of tech-led transformation, particularly for cloud solutions, it is not the reason or impetus for CEOs in Africa to embark upon transformation - yet.

In Africa, we are uniquely positioned to take advantage of the significant benefits presented by the adoption of cloud technologies. Africa is dynamic, entrepreneurial, and has a youthful population that is more receptive to technology disruption and transformational change. At the same time, Africa faces peculiar challenges not experienced in other parts of the world, which result in enormous potential for cloud solutions. We are on the cusp of major change, and Africa’s customers and businesses are driving that change.

Nimble resource reallocation is an acknowledged attribute of high-performing companies, and remains a critical area for CEO attention in Africa. Globally, 64% of CEOs reported reallocating 20% or less of resources from year to year, the same percentage as Africa CEOs. At a granular level, 28% of global CEOs cited resource reallocation of 10% or less, compared to 34% in Africa.

African CEOs report slightly higher levels of action than their global counterparts on their progress against climate-related initiatives. While this is the case for the majority of responses, trends in terms of where the levels of focus are for action being taken are similar for both African and Global CEOs.

As organisations grow and change, their tax compliance requirements can also shift. Our survey shows that over half of CEOs globally and in Africa expect a net increase in prices and/or services in 2024. This expectation is an opportunity to ensure that data quality is enhanced and organisations have the full insights of all aspects of their compliance lifecycles.

Regular reviews of corporate strategy and portfolio allow organisations to navigate market opportunities and mitigate risks. Acquisitions can support strategic execution and create new opportunities, and our survey shows that 44% of CEOs in Africa plan at least one major acquisition in the next three years. Strategic partnerships are another opportunity, which 45% of CEOs in Africa say has changed the way they create value over the last five years.

The totality of this year’s survey results reflects an awareness among CEOs that they are navigating critical strategic inflection points, and feel a sense of urgency and a bias towards action. The data also suggest there is a growing premium on leadership effectiveness to maintain energy, challenge the status quo and increase momentum in Africa and globally.

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Thriving in an age of continuous reinvention

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Dion Shango

Dion Shango

Territory Senior Partner for PwC’s East, West and South Market regions in Africa, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4166

Michal Kotze

Michal Kotze

Africa Clients and Markets Leader, PwC South Africa

Tel: +27 (0) 11 797 4603

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