Concerns For African CEOs: Over Regulation, Skill Deficit

Concerns For African CEOs: Over Regulation, Skill Deficit

There are too many laws regulating Africa businesses and not enough skilled workers to go around, according to a PriceWaterhouseCoopers survey.

Over regulation in African countries is one of the major threats to growth for many companies, according to 75 percent of CEOs who responded to a survey in 22 African countries, CapitalDigitalMedia reports.

It’s not only hard to start a business but also to operate one, said Steve Okello, tax partner with a PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

“There is a perception among three quarters of the CEOs surveyed in our region that there is over regulation on our countries. They say this impacts greatly on their business strategies,” Okello said at a media briefing.

In the Africa Business Agenda survey, 83 percent of CEOs who responded said that an increasing tax burden is a challenge to many companies in the continent.

Fifty-eight percent said they anticipate some change in their approach to tax planning and contribution this year.

“Tax planning influences corporate reputation and can help to build trust among stakeholders,” Okello said. “But the larger issue is that ambiguity and uncertainty regarding the tax and regulatory environment hurts growth prospects.”

Lack of key skills in the workforce is another major concern for CEOs. About 84 percent of CEO survey respondents said creating and fostering a skilled workforce is a priority.

“Like our case here in Kenya, the curriculum that we go through is very academic and therefore when you are a graduate, you employer begins with training you first. This tells a lot,” said Kuria Muchiru, who handles human resources for PriceWaterhouseCoopers.

In addition to training employees, companies must strategize to avoid losing experienced employees to their competitors.

Employers who want to inspire pride and loyalty in their employees must do so with more than just pay and promotions, Muchiru said.

“Challenging career opportunities, contributing to strategic decision making, technology and flexible working hours also improve retention,” he said. “At the end of the day, talented people want to work in world-class facilities among the best and the brightest.”

Despite the challenges, most CEOs expressed optimism about the prospects for revenue growth over the next 12 months.

CEOs in Ghana, South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Rwanda, showed the highest level of optimism compared to CEOs in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia, who are “somewhat” confident of growth, CapitalDigitalMedia reports.