Africa Finance

Sub-Saharan Africa CFOs negotiate tough economic challenges

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The job of CFO is one of the most demanding in business today. CFOs in Sub-Saharan Africa are no different. They are expected to fulfil multiple roles while keeping their fingers on the pulse of a volatile global market.

Deloitte’s eighth annual CFO Survey for Sub-Saharan Africa shows that CFOs from South Africa to Nigeria are feeling overextended when it comes to their workloads and meeting the demands of CEO and board. The challenges that keep them up at night vary from having to deal with poor company performance and insufficiently skilled support staff, to negotiating changing regulatory requirements and excessive administrative workloads.

In addition, fears around a volatile global market, characterised by a possible US interest rate hike, the deepening slowdown of China’s economy and the Eurozone’s socio-economic afflictions, have compelled many CFOs to adopt an agile strategy to improving company performance and creating shareholder value.

What did CFOs in South Africa and Southern Africa highlight?

  • Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda are the most desirable destinations for expansion.
  • The domestic political situation is of major concern for South African CFOS.
  • Estimated economic growth rates across all regions are weaker this year and over the next two years compared to 2014 predictions.
  • Currency volatility and overall exposure to currency devaluation are amongst the top industry concerns.
  • The cost of capital is increasing.
  • CFOs continue to spend more time in operator and steward roles than as catalysts or strategists.

 What are they doing about it?

  • CFOs are adopting an agile approach to dealing with economic volatility.
  • Many CFOs are focused on growing investor confidence.
  • Improving operational efficiency and optimising costs is a major strategic thrust for most CFOs.
  • The majority of CFOs will be spending their cash on improving current operations.

While there are common issues that CFOs throughout Africa are dealing with, such as the widespread downward pressure on currencies, respondents from the different regions are also addressing their own unique sets of challenges. Wherever they are on the continent, however, Africa’s CFOs are expected to be nimble-footed in how they approach their multi-faceted roles. As an integrated African firm, Deloitte is intent on equipping CFOs with some of the tools and support they need to meet their day to day challenges. Click here to download the report.

For further information, contact:
Roy Campbell
CFO Programme Leader
Tel/Direct: +27 (0)11 806 5580
Email: rcampbell@deloitte.co.za 

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