Despite many challenges in the business- operating environment in sub-Saharan Africa, Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) in the region have the tools to grow, evolve and sustain their business for the long term.
Multinational professional services company, PwC, stated this in its latest publication, ‘Africa Business Agenda: Business Operating Environment Perspective 2023 – Africa’s CEOs balance competing priorities to achieve sustained outcomes.’
PwC, in the new report, said collaboration is one of the tools that can help African CEOs to steer their businesses through various challenges.
“Collaboration with third parties and other stakeholders can help businesses that are trying to achieve balance,” PwC said.
Another tool, according to the report, is Africa’s talent pool, which it said, has the rich and vibrant potential to transform business and society.
As it emphasised, “Talent drives significant value for organisations.To successfully navigate change, organisations need to make major investments in talent and culture to support recruitment, retention, and optimisation of capacity and capability.”
Automation strategies can also be adopted to support the redirection of key talent and capabilities to areas of deeper value.”
The report also said the business operating environment is shifting in response to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) priorities and
requirements, and CEOs of businesses and organisations can build resilience and ensure competitiveness by focusing on sustainability.
ESG is a framework used to assess an organisation’s business practices and performance on various sustainability and ethical issues. It also provides a way to measure business risks and opportunities in those areas.
PwC, in the report, stated that “Prioritising good governance, ESG objectives and transparency support greater trust and confidence,” pointing out that “increasingly, more stakeholders expect organisations to be purpose led and committed to contributing towards important ESG goal.”
The report is part of PwC’s Business Africa Agenda series which draws on insights from 282 CEOs in the region who participated in PwC’s ’26th Annual Global CEO Survey’ “Our survey and research reveal that CEOs in sub-Saharan Africa develop resilience and agility as they navigate an evolving and complex business operating environment,” the professional services company said.
According to PwC, “The insights corroborate organisational focus on sustainability and performance, diversification of products and services, streamlining operations to focus on core competencies
aligned with their purpose, collaborating to drive impact, investing in attracting and retaining talent, and prioritising good governance, ESG objectives, risk management, and cybersecurity.”
One of the key insights explored in the report include is that business is a balancing act. “In order for CEOs to steer their businesses through various operational challenges, they have to implement sustainable strategies,” PwC said. It also stated that short-term solutions also require a long-term view. “When businesses are facing headwinds such as inflation and challenging macroeconomic conditions, CEOs need to apply a strong view on the future, even when searching for a short-term solution.
PwC Africa Strategist & Leader, PwC South Africa, Pieter Crafford, added that “Understanding the cost-to-income ratio at a detailed level is vital as it allows a business to extract wasteful costs from areas
which will not drive future growth and re-invest this in parts of the organisation which have or require differentiating capabilities.”
Crafford is one of PwC’s team of five experts who authored the report. Others are Partner and PwC Strategy & Leader, West Africa, PwC Nigeria, Olusegun Zacheaus; PwC Africa Deal Leader, PwC South Africa,
Jan Groenewald; Deals Value Creation Leader, PwC South Africa, Jaco Prinsloo; and PwC Africa Operational Restructuring Leader, PwC South Africa, Emma Whalley-Hands.