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‘Africa is most business-confident region globally’

Africa has once again become the most business-confident region in the world, according to new findings from the Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS).

The survey was compiled by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

GECS is the largest quarterly economic survey of accountants in the world, gauging the views of ACCA and IMA finance professionals working at the core face of businesses.

The results from the survey for the second quarter showed that the sub-Saharan African region had managed to cope with the inflation and volatile flows of funds that challenged policymakers in late 2012.

The private Punch newspapers Monday quoted a statement from the Office Manager, ACCA Nigeria, Ms. Chidimma Iheanacho, as saying just 32 per cent of respondents from Africa’s business community were now reporting a loss of confidence.

This figure is down from 40 per cent in early 2013, while 41 per cent reported confidence gains, up seven percentage points from the previous quarter.

The survey shows that the perceptions of the economic recovery in general have shot up, with 60 per cent reporting an optimistic outlook, up from 51 per cent.

“Globally, this is not a recovery for everyone, but for significant parts of the world it looks like the real thing. If this new found dynamism persists beyond a couple of quarters, it could build its own momentum independent of monetary policy.

”And looking at Africa, it has reclaimed its place as the most confident of the major world economic regions,” a Senior Economic Analyst at ACCA and Editor of the GEC Survey, Mr. Emmanouil Schizas, was quoted as saying by the newspaper.

He added, “What is encouraging is that the marginal improvement in global business dynamism in early 2013 has now accelerated across all measures of investment, orders and employment. Employment in particular is recovering quickly and is now stronger than at any point in the last two years.”

Reacting to the survey, the Director, sub-Saharan Africa ACCA and spokesperson for Africa, Mr. Jamil Ampomah, said the GECS’ findings resonate across the continent.

He added that the authorities on the continent have got inflation and capital flows in and out of the region under more control.

“While this is a massive continent, the GECS’ findings resonate across the whole of Africa; the worst challenges of late 2012 appear to have been overcome. Investment in capital and people among African businesses remained stable over the first half of the year. Demand and cash-flow pressures eased significantly in Q2 2013, after rising unevenly for about a year,” Ampomah said.

The survey said some factors, including improved business environment, reforms, accountability and more openness combined to give the region a major confidence boost in the second quarter.

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