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Survey predicts growth in African businesses in 2010

A survey conducted by Africa Practice has revealed that businesses operating in the continent will experience growth but that the biggest challenges remain talent and access to credit.

According to the report “Business leaders maintain a positive outlook for 2010, with 95 per cent of those surveyed expecting to expand their business over the coming year”

The africapractice survey of business leaders was conducted in the first last two weeks of November 2009. 37 Executives from telecoms, beverages, banking, media, private equity and mining businesses, all of them invested in Africa, were interviewed. Africapractice is a strategic communications consultancy with a network of offices across the African continent.

The report released Tuesday said “Results of africapractice’s annual business survey support the growing belief that Africa is beginning to recover from the financial crisis. 100 per cent of respondents said that they anticipate levels of foreign direct investment to rise in 2010, the majority expected to come from China.

This represents a much-improved outlook when compared to last year’s survey, in which 69 per cent 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 per cent and 30 per cent of votes respectively.

This echoes last year’s survey in which 31 per cent of respondents cited talent as the biggest concern. Physical infrastructure and legislative environments were also cited as potential growth limitations.

The future role of the United States prompted a mixed reaction, with only 17% of business leaders expecting the 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 majority of respondents cited advancements in technological infrastructure as being more significant for business opportunity than politics, thus reaffirming the common assertion that ICTs are key enablers of productive business.


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