Fifty-two percent of CEOs across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) expect economic growth locally and in their Africa territory (compared to 44% globally) in the next 12 months but, at the same time, 50% of these CEOs feel more exposed to inflation and macroeconomic volatility (40%).

These are some of the key findings from PwC’s 2024 Africa Business Agenda report, which reflects the views of 380 CEOs in sub-Saharan Africa who participated in PwC’s 27th Annual Global CEO Survey.

In this report, the company takes a closer look at the need for CEOs in Africa to reinvent how they operate, the pressures and threats that influence this process, and ways to sustain reinvention.

“As threats converge and opportunities arise, many companies in Africa are taking steps to reinvent themselves,” says Dion Shango, PwC Africa CEO. “In Africa, CEOs are accustomed to uncertainty to a certain extent and, as a result, their organisations are more resilient.

“This said, the challenges we are facing are very real. CEOs have told us that regulatory uncertainty, infrastructure challenges, limited financial resources, and shortages of specific skills can all derail their growth ambitions which is why staying ahead of the curve is paramount.

“Therefore, there is a need for CEOs in Africa to focus on what they can influence and control – and this primarily includes their business model.”

Staying ahead and remaining resilient in our current business climate requires every leader to challenge conventional ways of thinking and operating – which include long-held notions about competitive advantages, client relationships, and stakeholder expectations.

According to the survey, 97% of respondents in Africa said that over the past five years they have taken some steps to change how they create, deliver, and capture value. During that time, 81% of these CEOs took at least one action that had a significant impact on their company’s business model.

PwC’s CEO survey shows that business model reinvention has six main entry points that can open doors for meaningful initiatives to create more value. They are: tech led transformation; climate; cloud transformation; connected tax compliance; enterprise fit for growth; and optimise portfolio. The right moves for each company will differ depending on its strategy, industry context, and competitive landscape.

According to the survey, there is a growing awareness among CEOs that they are navigating critical strategic inflection points and feel a sense of urgency towards action. The data also suggests that there is a growing premium on leadership effectiveness to maintain energy, challenge the status quo, and increase momentum in Africa and globally.

“Actual progress will come when leaders and companies undertake meaningful initiatives to evolve the way they create, deliver, and capture value,” Shango says.

Shirley Machaba, PwC Southern Africa CEO, adds: “One of Africa’s great advantages is its youthful population. As businesses in Africa reinvent and adapt to change, they need the next generation of talent to engage and participate. With 44% of CEOs in Africa planning to increase their headcount, the time is now to invest in the workforce skills of tomorrow.”