Businesses will benefit from expanded Internet access that promotes digital inclusion.

This is one of the key findings from the quarterly Merchantec CEO Confidence Index, which maps a correlation between CEO’s confidence and access to the Internet.

Google’s Equiano subsea Internet cable was landed at Melkbosstrand north of Cape Town in August 2022, which is said to have a direct impact on connectivity throughout the southern Africa region, resulting in faster Internet speeds, reduced pricing and improved user experience.

In addition, government has announced that it aims to ensure all citizens have access to digital technology and services by 2024.

Businesses across most sectors will be positively influenced by these industry trends, with over 79% of CEO’s responding that an increase of Internet access will benefit their business. They cite an increase in education, use of social media platforms and business systems as contributing factors.

The Merchantec CEO Confidence Index recorded a 14% improvement in CEO Confidence between the second and third quarters of 2022. The index is now at 54.6, just above the neutral score of 50. The overall upturn is supported by an increase in confidence across all six sectors measured, most notably led by the Finance sector.

Basic Resources significantly increased in confidence by 41% to 54.17 points, compared to a score from three months ago in Q2 at 38.33 points. The increase in confidence was generally attributed to confidence in company growth expectations.

Technology recorded an increase of 13% in confidence.

Consumer Services obtained the second increase of 26% to 58.57 points. The increase in sentiment was primarily driven by a 43% increase in confidence relating to industry growth expectations.

Consumer Goods saw a slight drop in confidence by 4%. The decrease in sentiment was primarily driven by a 16% decrease in confidence relating to planned level of investment.
Financials score increased to 59 points, representing a 13 % boost.

Industrials increased by 8%. Sentiment was primarily driven by a 27% increase in confidence relating to economic conditions and a 13% increase in the confidence relating to the ability to secure debt and equity capital.