YPO Global Pulse: Economic confidence across Africa subdued in first quarter of 2017

Economic sentiment in South Africa declines to seven-year low

JOHANNESBURG, 9 May 2017 YPO, the premier chief executive leadership organisation in the world, reported today that confidence among business leaders in Africa remained relatively unchanged in the first quarter of 2017 (1Q 2017). The YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index for Africa edged down for the second consecutive quarter, falling 0.3 point to 54.4.

Once again, African chief executives are among the least confident in the world, trailing their counterparts in every other region, with the exception of non-EU Europe, and far behind the Index’s global composite score of 62.5.

While there was little change in the overall score for Africa, there were marked shifts in sentiment within the region’s major economies. South Africa, which has the highest weighting in the region, dropped 5.1 points from 60.2 to 55.1, its lowest level since July 2009. Meanwhile, confidence in Kenya dropped 1.0 point from 52.2 to 51.2, its lowest level since October 2015.

Nigeria saw a significant improvement in outlook, jumping 12.7 points from 41.9 to 54.6, its highest level since October 2014. Zimbabwe also reported a more positive outlook, climbing 3.0 points from 42.7 to 45.7, although at this level it remains in deeply pessimistic territory.

“Business leaders in Africa are unsurprisingly concerned about the economic climate, both within the region and at a global level. With increased socio-political uncertainty in virtually every region in the world, the mood is likely to remain subdued in the second half of this year”, said YPO member, Loic Potjes, a Director at Securitas SA and Founder of Disruptive Leap, “Chief executives will remain extremely watchful in the coming months, closely monitoring economic indicators and looking to minimise risk as much as possible.”

Globally, the YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index edged up 0.3 point to 62.5 during the quarter under review, its highest level since January 2015. For the second consecutive quarter, the United States reported the highest level of confidence in the world, inching up 0.3 point from 64.6 to 64.9. Confidence in the European Union (EU) remained flat at 60.9, whilst Asia climbed 2.1 points from 61.2 to 63.3, its highest level since April 2015. Elsewhere, confidence in Latin America dropped 1.2 points to 57.1, while confidence in the Middle East and North Africa slumped 4.3 points from 59.5 to 55.2. Non-EU Europe reported the lowest level of confidence in the world, falling 2.5 points from 54.3 to 51.8.

Key findings in Africa

Economic conditions deteriorating

When asked to comment on how current business and economic conditions in Africa have changed over the last six months, African chief executives reported a worsening situation. More than half (55%) stated conditions had deteriorated in the previous six months, versus only 23% who reported an improvement.

Looking ahead to the next six months, more than a third (37%) of business leaders expected the economic climate to decline further, against 29% who believed conditions would improve.

Chief executives still positive about prospects for growth in next 12 months

Despite their concerns over the general economic conditions in the region, business leaders in Africa remained optimistic about the short-term prospects for their own organisations.

The YPO Sales Confidence Index for Africa climbed 2.9 points to 63.9. Almost two-thirds (61%) of respondents expected to increase turnover within their organization in the next 12 months, up from 54% in the final quarter of 2016. Only 12% of chief executives predicted a decline in revenues, versus 15% in the previous quarter.

The YPO Employment Confidence Index remained unchanged at 53.7. The majority of chief executives (59%) reported that staff headcount was likely to stay flat in the next 12 months, whilst almost a third (31%) expected to increase hiring and 10% expected their workforce to shrink.

The YPO Fixed Investment Index edged down 0.3 point to 57.3, its lowest level for a year.   More than a third of the participants (38%) predicted an increase in fixed investment in 2017, whereas only 11% expected to cut investment levels.

YPO Global Pulse Confidence Index
The quarterly electronic survey, conducted in the first two weeks of April 2017, gathered answers from 1,216 YPO chief executive officers across the globe, including 143 in Africa. Visit www.ypo.org/globalpulse for more information about the survey methodology and to view the results from around the world.

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New Ho MCE promises radical change

Ho, Mr John Nelson Kwesi Akorli, Ho Municipal Chief Executive Nominee, on Tuesday received an overwhelming endorsement from the Assembly and urged the people to expect a radical change in the way things were done in the Assembly.

Mr Akorli, who polled 42 votes out of 43, representing 98 per cent of the votes cast, said it will not be business as usual here. I expect hard-work and punctuality. Laziness will be seriously frowned upon.

He promised to provide the right leadership and run an open and transparent administration for the rapid socio-economic development of the Municipality.

Mr Akorli said the Assembly would take advantage of government’s ‘one district, one factory’, and ‘planting for food and job’ programmes among others to take youths off the streets of Ho and other towns in the Municipal area.

He said he was humbled by the overwhelming endorsement, which meant the Assembly was united for growth and called for support from all stakeholders, especially traditional authorities.

Mr Akorli said his priority was fighting poor sanitation and creating jobs and expressed gratitude to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo for the opportunity given him.

Dr Archibald Yao Letsa, Volta Regional Minister, said the Assembly was anxious for a take-off after being without a chief executive for four months and urged the Assembly members to forge a united front.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Woyome rallies constituents to raise educational standards

Accra, Two years after launching an academic excellence awards in the South Tongu District, Mr Kobla Mensah Woyome, the MP for the area is rallying stakeholders for support in raising the standards of education.

I believe that, if all stakeholders play their role in our educational system, we will go a long way in improving our system in order to produce the required manpower that Ghana needs to accelerate its economic development, Mr Woyome said, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra.

Mr Woyome invited chiefs and elders, educationists, philanthropists, members of the religious community to join hands in raising standards in the schools.

Mr Woyome made the call at the Second South Tongu Academic Excellence Award ceremony, held at Sogakope, the district capital in the Volta Region.

Concerned about the abysmal performance of school children in the area, the MP, together with the education authorities instituted the awards to halt the decline in academic work and to motivate the children to study hard.

This year’s ceremony was held on the theme: Quality Learner Achievement, a Shared Stakeholder Responsibility.

Mr Woyome recalled a statement by former and late South Africa President Nelson Mandela that Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the world.

He explained that education was one of the most effective mechanisms unearthing the potentials of the individual, building peace and promoting the development of every society.

Mr Woyome said a good system of education was fundamental to building any nation in the world, for it was the means by which young people were prepared to accept responsibility in the future.

Education has become a priority in every society because it is the means by which young people acquire necessary skills that will make them better citizens of a country. Nations that lack a good educational system will inevitably suffer as their citizens become unskilled and a burden to society.

When our children are well educated, it has a very positive effect on themselves, their families, their community and the nation at large. Learning promotes progress and trains young people to pursue responsible careers that will have a genuine impact on their lives and on the country ultimately.

Mr Woyome compared statistics of performance of a number of schools in the district, and noted that there was an improved performance among a number of schools at both the basic and secondary levels.

He called on stakeholders in the area to nurture talents and come to the aid of brilliant but needy students and pupils, explaining that a developing nation like Ghana requires people serving in various public and private capacities for the smooth running of the country.

Sustainable development is guaranteed with a corresponding substantial investment in human capital. Education makes this possible.

Mr Woyome stressed on the importance of education as a means of attaining sustainable development.

In the year 2000, there was a global effort targeted to ensure that all children were in school by the year 2015.

According to Mr Woyome, Parliament and various governments have shown the commitment in achieving this target knowing that quality education was the best tool for national accelerated development.

Among the measures put in place are the increment of capitation grant, expansion of school feeding programme, free school uniform and exercise books and other facilities to enhance effective teaching and learning.

All these efforts by various governments which have been supported by Parliament form part of the global commitment in ensuring quality education for all in Ghana.

However, Ghana still faces many challenges, including lack of textbooks, shortage teachers, poor and inadequate infrastructure and logistics, poverty of the masses in the country which makes it difficult for parents to supplement the efforts of government in resourcing of schools.

It is against that backdrop that the office of the Member of Parliament has intervened in a number of situations including support for both institutions and individuals.

He called on Directors of Education, Heads and teachers, to ensure that appropriate measures were put in place for effective teaching and learning to enable children imbue high standard of learning and discipline.

Mr Woyome also appealed to members of the business community to assist in providing resources and internship opportunities and asked chiefs and elders of the communities to provide land for schools’ development.

He advised parents and guardians to get involved in Parent Teacher Association (P.T.A.) activities and contribute to major decision making of their wards, school and its development.

Ms Angelica Attakey, former Municipal Director of Education for South Tongu, in a telephone interview said the awards had engendered competition among the schools in the area, and had helped to bring out the best in pupils, students and teachers.

Some the schools that received awards of excellence are; Sogakope Senior High School, the EP Basic School; and Agbadzakope Junior High School.

Among the prizes were trophies, certificates and cash.

Source: Ghana News Agency

Biakoye Assembly rejects President’s nominee

Biakoye (V/R), Madam Millicent Kabuki Carboo, District Chief Executive nominee for the Biakoye District was on Tuesday rejected in a confirmation poll.

She had only 18 ‘yes’ votes representing 41.86 per cent of the total votes cast and not eligible for a second round voting.

Mr Kwadwo Nyanpon Aboagye, Member of Parliament for Biakoye earlier appealed to the Assembly members to endorse the nominee for rapid development of the District.

Mr Maxwell Blagodzi, Deputy Volta Regional Minister expressed gratitude for the peaceful ballot.

Source: Ghana News Agency

‘Effective land management, critical to sustainable agriculture’

Accra, Professor Kwabena Frempong Boateng, Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation has said effective land management was critical to the country’s sustainable agriculture, food and security.

He said good land management contributed to economic growth, biodiversity and women’s empowerment, saying government had put in place measures to deal with upstream and downstream issues.

The Minister said this at the 4th conference of the Sahel and West Africa Programme (SAWAP) in support of the Great Green Wall Initiative in Accra.

SAWAP is an initiative that brings together countries under a common programme to address issues of land degradation.

The conference is aimed at facilitating experience and knowledge sharing amongst countries participating in sustainable land management projects and ensure collaboration between countries to address land degradation.

He said land degradation in Africa had been recognised as a development issue because of its impact on the productive capacity of the land, adding that in Ghana, rural households were the most affected by land degradation because of heavy dependence on agriculture and other natural resources.

Prof Boateng noted that compromised environmental services included; nutrient cycling, regulation of hydrological flows, provision of natural resources and amelioration of climatic extremes and floods.

He said the introduction of TerrAfrica had helped the country to develop a strategic investment framework for sustainable land management and the agriculture sustainable land management strategy and action plan, creating a strong enabling environment and roadmap for investment.

He commended the Global Environment Facility through the World Bank for supporting the implementation of the country’s sustainable land and water management project aimed to support farmers in the Northern Savannah zone to adopt sustainable land management practices.

Mr Henry Kerali, World Bank Country Director for Ghana, said Africans depended heavily on soil, water, vegetation and natural resources assets, but these resources have been deteriorating as a result of unsustainable management and expanding human settlement generating increase demand for food, water and land.

He said there was growing evidence and concern that the land degradation and natural resource depletion were leading to migration and that statistics revealed that almost 50 per cent of the country’s forest cover had been lost over the past 50 years.

Mr Kerali noted that these challenges transcended institutional and geographic boundaries and required collaborative vision and action and that addressing natural resource degradation and desertification required multi-sectoral collaboration at the landscape level.

Source: Ghana News Agency