Spirits very high among Egypt’s executives, optimistic about floatation impact: What the OBG CEO survey reveals about business

73 percent of respondents are optimistic about the impact of the Egyptian pound’s floatation on the business landscape in the near term (Photo courtesy of OBG)

Global publishing, research and consultancy company Oxford Business Group (OBG) released its second edition of the Business Barometer: Egypt CEO Survey, undertaken in partnership with shareholding real estate company Tatweer Misr.

During the event in which the results of the survey were announced, Tatweer Misr CEO and managing director Ahmed Shalaby stated that the CEOs had recognized the ambitious reforms undertaken by Egypt to reignite investors’ interest.

Economic landscape
OBG surveyed 136 C-suite executives across different industries to measure the business sentiment in the country, with results turning out largely positive. The vast majority of respondents were optimistic about the outlook for the coming months. Among the interviewed, 91 percent describe their expectations for local business conditions as either positive or very positive, compared to 79 percent in OBG’s first survey on Egypt early 2017.

As much as 73 percent of respondents are optimistic about the impact of the Egyptian pound’s floatation in November 2016 on the business landscape in the near term, with 70 percent believing that the GDP will grow between three to five percent this year. Another 70 percent describe the current tax environment as either competitive or very competitive on a global scale.

Regarding regional political uncertainty, 65 percent of the respondents say that it is a major concern, and the increased unrest in neighboring countries is the top external risk to growth.

65 percent say that regional political instability is a major concern

Future of the workplace
In its survey, OBG asked business leaders about the skills they felt were most demanded in the workplace, given the high rates of unemployment. About 54 percent of the respondents said that leadership is the skill most needed among employees, followed by research and development (12.7 percent) and business administration (9 percent).

Challenges to be addressed
In a blogpost commenting on the survey results, OBG’s regional editor for Africa Souhir Mzali states: “The Egyptian government has sought to introduce multiple legislative and regulatory reforms to its economy, and indicators are finally resuming a more positive trajectory.

“Overall, efforts to put Egypt’s economy back on a surer footing seem to be finally paying off, and confidence among the business community appears to be returning in full force,” she explains.

Mzali also takes a stab at the challenges Egypt still needs to address, including inflation rates that peaked in July 2017 to reach 33 percent. By the end of June 2018, the inflation rate stood at 13.8 percent.

Among these challenges as well, as stated by Mzali, is the fiscal deficit. However, she says that efforts to rationalize subsidy allocations along with good economic performance and political stability may mitigate the effects.

The high rate of unemployment is also a key concern, especially among youth; hence, sustainable job creation is pivotal to contain all new entrants to the market.

Shalaby explains that Egypt had faced a multitude of challenges economically over the past few years; however, the reform program that is efficiently being applied has led to steady recovery for economic growth, especially in the real estate sector.

OBG Business Barometer
The survey has been designed to assess business sentiment among business leaders and their outlook for the next 12 months.

About 77 percent of the companies surveyed were private, 51 percent international, 27 percent local and 16 percent regional.


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