East African business leaders hopeful of economic climate

Business executives in East Africa are optimistic about the regional economy despite insecurity in Kenya and weakening currencies, a new survey indicates.

A global entrepreneur indicator survey conducted by Entrepreneur Organisation (EO), a network of over 10,000 business owners, shows that 78 per cent of entrepreneurs are willing to start a business under the current economic environment.

The EO’s founding President, Sriram Bharatam, attributed the results to the confidence and optimism that East African entrepreneurs and companies have developed over the years.

“It (the survey) clearly shows the incredible traction and dynamics East Africa has developed over the past years. In terms of business momentum, the indicators show that East Africa will continue its rise as a leading force in the global economy,” said Mr Bharatam.

The survey covered 5,868 leading entrepreneurs in agriculture, construction, energy, hospitality, insurance, logistics, media, manufacturing, port handling, real estate, technology, telecoms, and utility sectors.

The respondents aged 42 years and with businesses that receive at least $1 million (Sh92.1 million) in annual revenues were interviewed across 46 countries. The survey indicates 90 per cent of the entrepreneurs remain positive, hoping to see an increase in revenue, compared with 81 per cent globally.

Over 41 per cent of East African Community business executives said they plan to increase use of debt instruments with over 64 per cent of them reporting an expected increase in access to capital.

The high business confidence sharply contrasts the difficult investment environment in the region. Kenya has experienced a wave of terrorist attacks with its key business partners like the UK, Australia and US issuing travel advisories to their citizens.

The Tanzanian shilling, the Kenyan shilling as well as the Ugandan one have been depreciating against the dollar during the past few months.
Source: The Citizen, reported by Oloo Winnie,from Nairobi, Kenya
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