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Economy

Africa CEOs rank Kenya top business destination

Nairobi’s Westlands
Nairobi’s Westlands area which is a business hub. Kenya has been ranked second best by African CEOs for company expansion. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Kenya has been ranked second best destination for large companies looking for growth prospects in 2019 after the US, even as business leaders grow less certain about expanding outside their home countries.

The country was cited by 22 of the 171 top African CEOs who were interviewed in a survey by audit and consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) as most important market for growth opportunities outside their home markets.

It was closely beaten by US which was cited by 24 business leaders in the CEO survey conducted in September and October 2018 and whose findings have been released this month.

Majority of the CEOs who participated in the survey ranked companies with annual revenue of more than Sh10 billion ($100 million), largely based in South Africa.

The PwC’s 7th Africa Business Agenda 2019 survey, however, showed 20 percent of the surveyed African CEOs did not know where else to look for growth opportunities, more than double the eight percent levels in 2018.

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That is a signal that African “CEOs appear less certain about their expansion plans outside their home markets”, said PwC consultants during the release of the survey findings in Nairobi on Tuesday.

CEOs were largely concerned by uncertainty in government policies, skills gaps to drive innovation and over-regulation, PwC regional senior partner Peter Ngahu told reporters.

The level of growth confidence in Kenya remained largely stable, falling to 13 percent of the African CEOs from 14 percent last year, states the report first released during the biannual World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town on September 4.

“The CEOs are looking for new markets … but they are approaching the new markets with some level of caution,” said PwC Kenya assurance leader Kang’e Saiti. “The participants are weighted by the size of the GDP, and so a lot of responses were from South Africa. So if they are identifying economies outside of their home, Kenya, given its level of stability, remains quite popular.”

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