With global economic recovery in sight, Africa has once again become the most business-confident region in the world, according to new findings from the Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) compiled by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

The GECS is the largest quarterly economic survey of accountants in the world, gauging the views of ACCA and IMA finance professionals working at the coal-face of businesses.

The results for Q2 showed that the sub-Saharan African region had managed to cope with the inflation and volatile flows of funds that challenged policymakers in late 2012.

A number of other factors combined to give the region a major confidence-boost in the second quarter. Just 32 percent of respondents from Africa?s business community are now reporting a loss of confidence, down from 40 percent in early 2013, while 41 percent reported confidence gains — up seven percentage points from the previous quarter. Perceptions of the economic recovery in general have shot up with 60 percent reporting an optimistic outlook, up from 51%.

Jamil Ampomah, sub-Saharan Africa Director at ACCA, commented: ?Globally, this is not a recovery for everyone; but for significant parts of the world it looks like the real thing. If this new found dynamism persists beyond a couple of quarters, it could build its own momentum independent of monetary policy. And looking at Africa, it has reclaimed its place as the most confident of the major world economic regions.

?Despite continued positive news about the global and national economies, the GECS business confidence index has only just about inched in the right direction. After a surge in business confidence in Q1 that was perhaps a little premature, confidence levels are now in line with fundamentals.

?What is encouraging is that the marginal improvement in global business dynamism in early 2013 has now accelerated across all measures of investment, orders and employment. Employment in particular is recovering quickly, and is now stronger than at any point in the last two years.?

Mr. Ampomah said: ?While this is a massive continent, GECS?s findings resonate across the whole of Africa; the worst challenges of late 2012 appear to have been overcome. Investment in capital and people among African businesses remained stable over the first half of the year. Demand and cash-flow pressures eased significantly in Q2 2013, after rising unevenly for about a year.

?Access to business and investment opportunities as well as growth capital improved both year on year and quarter on quarter, while the authorities in Africa have got inflation and capital flows in and out of the region under more control. The finance teams in Africa?s businesses are clearly seeing a more positive future for their own organisations, and particularly for the wider economy.?

The global picture

Across the world, fewer respondents reported falling revenues and declining orders. There has been little change in the share of respondents worried about customers or suppliers failing, despite the tightening of cash-flow conditions.

The second quarter also saw businesses reporting more investment and business opportunities being available — particularly for investment in new markets, niche offerings, and high quality standards. A two-year high of more than 26 percent reported that their organisations had access to value-added opportunities and were not considering cost-cutting.

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