Better Internet Access and Digital Inclusion Boost CEO Confidence

Businesses will benefit from expanded Internet access that promotes digital inclusion.

That’s one of the key findings from Merchantec’s quarterly CEO Confidence Index, which correlates CEO confidence with internet access.

Google’s Equiano undersea internet cable was laid at Melkbosstrand in Northern Cape Town in August 2022, which would have a direct impact on connectivity across the Southern African region, resulting in faster internet speeds, lower prices reduced and an improved user experience.

Additionally, the government has announced that it aims to ensure that all citizens have access to digital technology and services by 2024.

Businesses in most industries will be positively impacted by these industry trends, with over 79% of CEOs responding that increased internet access will benefit their business. They cite an increase in education, use of social media platforms and trading systems as contributing factors.

Merchantec’s CEO Confidence Index recorded a 14% improvement in CEO confidence between the second and third quarters of 2022. The index now sits at 54.6, just above the neutral score of 50. The overall recovery is supported by an increase in confidence across all six sectors measured, notably led by the financials sector.

Core resources significantly increased their confidence by 41% to 54.17 points, compared to a score three months ago in the second quarter of 38.33 points. The increase in confidence was generally attributed to confidence in business growth expectations.

Technology saw a 13% increase in trust.

Consumer Services obtained the second increase of 26% to 58.57 points. The increase in sentiment was mainly due to a 43% increase in confidence regarding industry growth expectations.

Consumer goods experienced a slight drop in confidence of 4%. The decline in sentiment was mainly due to a 16% decline in confidence regarding the level of expected investment.
The financial score rose to 59 points, representing a 13% increase.

Industries increased by 8%. The sentiment was mainly driven by a 27% increase in confidence relating to economic conditions and a 13% increase in confidence relating to the ability to raise debt and equity.

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