Struggling GDP growth, policy uncertainty top concerns for pessimistic South African CEOs – report

2020-01-23 12:10 - Jan Cronje
Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg.
Nelson Mandela Bridge in Johannesburg. (Photo by: Hoberman Collection/Universal Images Group via Getty Images) ~ Getty Images

South African CEOs are far more worried than their international peers about uncertain economic growth, policy uncertainty and social instability, according to a new report by PwC.

The results stem from PwC's 23rd Annual Global CEO Survey, which included interviews with 1 581 CEOs from around the world, including 36 from South Africa. 

"In South Africa, CEOs face a set of unique local challenges, which only seem to add to the global realities they face," state the report's authors, adding that "in almost every region, [CEOs] show significantly diminished confidence in their own organisation’s 12-month revenue growth prospects."

Over half of South African CEOs polled were "extremely concerned" about uncertain economic growth, policy uncertainty, social instability, over-regulation and unemployment. The International Monetary Fund downgraded SA's projected 2020 economic growth to just 0.8% earlier in the week, while the SA Reserve Bank expects SA's economy to grow by just 0.4% in 2019. 

Over 40% of SA CEOs, meanwhile, say they are extremely concerned about populism, the availability of key skills and exchange rate volatility, all higher than global averages. 

The PwC study found that pessimism regarding global growth held across all the regions it polled. In total, 53% of global respondents said they expected world growth to fall in the next 12 months. For South Africa, this number was 44%, with only 17% saying they project global growth rates to rise.