January 5th, 2010 | by addis portal |

ADDIS ABABA, Jan 5 (NNN-ENA) — Businesses operating in Africa will experience growth but the biggest challenges remain talent and access to credit, according to a survey conducted by Africa-Practice, a Pan African strategic communications consultancy.

The Vanguard/All Africa Global Media quoted the report by the consultancy reported as revealing that Ethiopia registered encouraging development in talent and access to credit.

According to the report, “Business leaders maintain a positive outlook for 2010, with 95 per cent of those surveyed expecting to expand their business over the coming year.”

The Africa-Practice survey of business leaders was conducted in November 2009. Some 37 executives from telecommunications, beverages, banking, media, private equity and mining businesses, all of them invested in Africa, were interviewed.

The report, which was released last week, said: “Results of Africa-Practice’s annual business survey support the growing belief that Africa is beginning to recover from the financial crisis. 100 per cent of respondents said that they anticipate levels of foreign direct investment (FDI) to rise in 2010, the majority expected to come from China.

“This represents a much-improved outlook when compared with last year’s survey, in which 69 per cent of respondents predicted a reduction in FDI flows.”

When asked what they thought would be the biggest challenges to their business in 2010, the executives were split between access to credit and availability of talent, which received 35 per cent and 30 per cent of votes respectively.

This echoed the previous year’s survey when 31 per cent of respondents cited talent as the biggest concern. Physical infrastructure and legislative environments were also cited as potential growth limitations.

The future role of the United States prompted a mixed reaction, with only 17 per cent of business leaders expecting the Obama Administration to have a positive influence on Africa.

However, there was a consensus of optimism surrounding the impact of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, although most (54 per cent) believed that the benefits would be felt only in tournament hosts South Africa itself.

The majority of respondents cited advancements in technological infrastructure as being more significant for business opportunity, thus reaffirming the common assertion that information communication technology (ICT) was a key enabler of productive business.

Activities of those engaged in micro and small-scale enterprises and provision of loan in Ethiopia has been contributing its share in enhancing capacity of the beneficiaries though the report indicates that talent and access to credit remain challenges in Africa.

For instance, the activities of the Micro and Small-Scale Enterprise Development Agency of the Addis Ababa City administration can be a case in point in this regard. It has provided over 102 million Birr loan to over 11,300 beneficiaries during the past five months alone, the report says. — NNN-ENA

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