Africa managed to sustain its economic recovery despite global recession which slowed down in early to mid this year, a survey of finance professionals has revealed. The Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS) report for the second quarter of 2012 was undertaken by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

According to ACCA Kenya Country Manager Anthony Kariuki, respondents in Africa were the most confident of the state of the global economy with 34 percent of respondents reporting confidence gains, down from 39 percent three months earlier. “Some 45 percent of the respondents believed that the global recovery is on track,” Kariuki said in Nairobi on Tuesday. Experts says more investors from developed countries have been shifting some of their money into the emerging markets like those in Sub-Sahara Africa because of relative stability of the financial systems and higher returns.

ACCA recommends that countries in Sub-Saharan Africa should work towards enabling small and medium scale businesses access opportunities in the capital markets to ensure that as many locals as possible participate in the market.

When more small and medium scale business are listed in the stock market for instance, the likely outcome is that more local investors participate in the market, leading to better utilisation of national savings and it encourages those retail investors to use their personal savings for capital market investments.

According to the study, Nigeria has been the top performer in Africa over the last 9 months, with Malawi also performing well in early 2012 and maintaining confidence since then.

Overall there has been some improvement in business conditions on the ground, business revenues are improving, capital spending has consistently increased over the last three quarters and layoffs are becoming less common, although job creation is still coming in fits and starts, the report says.

Respondents have continued to report increasing emphasis on innovation for the third quarter running. However, access to finance has also become more difficult over the last three months, giving rise to pressures on cash flow and late payment.

The global survey of 2,700 professional accountants, now well into its third year, suggests that hints of a stronger recovery in early 2012 were mostly down to misplaced optimism, and that most of the gains made at the time have since been reversed.

“Finance professionals who responded to this survey were quite at ease with the prospect of austerity until mid-2010. Then the recovery failed to take off and everything changed,” said survey editor Manos Schizas, Senior Economic Analyst with ACCA.

With growth faltering once again, the finance professionals surveyed by ACCA and IMA are rethinking their attitudes towards public spending. However, the policy choice is not quite so simple.

It was in only a few markets that respondents believed that their governments could spend both robustly and sustainably – places such as Singapore, or the UAE. (Xinhua)


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