CEOs continued to face pressure generated by the ongoing COVID pandemic and market conditions such as rising inflation, supply chain disruptions and the ‘Great Resignation’ in parts of the world including Africa.
Despite the array of shifting headwinds, a recent survey conducted by PWC revealed that the CEOs were the most optimistic they have been in 10 years about the prospects for a stronger economy. More than three-quarters of CEOs, 77%, predict the global economy will improve, while only 15% expect worsening conditions. In Africa, 85% of CEOs expect that global economic growth will improve and 8% expect it to decline.
CEO optimism for 2022
CEO optimism for 2022 is a tick higher than the 76% optimism level from a year ago and fully 54 points higher than 2020, when more than half (53%) of CEOs predicted a declining economy. These are findings from PwC’s 25th Annual Global CEO Survey, which polled 4,446 CEOs in 89 countries and territories between October and November 2021.
While there is general optimism among CEOs for economic growth in 2022, the perspective varies widely across individual countries and territories. Among the largest territories, optimism is highest in India, where 94% of CEOs anticipate global growth in the coming year, up from 88% last year. Optimism is also trending up solidly among CEOs in Japan (plus 16 points to 83%, from 67% last year), and is modestly higher in the UK (up five points to 82%). Italy and France saw large increases in CEO optimism, perhaps as a result of stronger than expected economic recoveries. CEO optimism in Italy reached 89%, up 18 points from a year ago, while France experienced the greatest increase in CEO optimism, soaring 25 points to 85%.
At the other end of the spectrum, CEO optimism about the global economy declined most notably in the US, down 18 points to 70%, and was also slightly down in Brazil (dropping seven points to 77%), China (down nine points to 62%) and Germany (down four points to 76%), perhaps as inflation and supply chain constraints became more of an issue.
While US CEOs may be less sanguine on the global economy, they are comparatively confident about their own companies’ growth prospects, with 40% extremely confident about achieving revenue growth in 2022. India CEOs are similarly confident in their companies’ outlook.