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More MidEast CEOs 'very confident' about future prospects

More than a third of CEOs in the Middle East say they are very confident about their company’s prospects over the next 12 months, despite global challenges, according to a new survey.

PwC’s Annual Global CEO Survey, which interviewed 50 company chiefs in the Middle East, painted a positive, albeit guarded, picture about growth in the region.

Thirty-eight percent of CEOs said they are confident about the next year, up from 34 percent last year, while longer-term optimism in the region was the highest recorded in the world with 60 percent of CEOs confident about the next three years.

Although confident, PwC said Middle East bosses are playing a cautious hand when it comes to growth strategies, avoiding more speculative new ventures and refocusing on core capabilities and securing growth with tried and tested partners and exit strategies.

Hani Ashkar, PwC Middle East senior partner said: “Despite a tumultuous 2016, our findings paint an encouraging picture for the year ahead and beyond. CEOs in the region are stepping up to the challenge of digital technology, seizing the possibilities it offers and addressing the risks it can pose.

“Despite uncertain times, Middle East businesses are as ambitious as ever; they have proved resilient in times of change and our survey shows that though treading with caution, they are certainly confident about the direction their businesses will take in the years to come.”

Beyond the workforce, this confidence is also seeping into CEOs’ business agendas, PwC said.

Its findings revealed that although organic growth is high on CEOs’ agendas, business leaders in the region are more likely to be looking for strategic partnerships, more likely to plan cost reduction activities and much more likely to be looking to exit a business or market than the global average.

The survey also showed that digital tops the list of strategic priorities for CEOs in the region (22 percent), followed by innovation (14 percent), human capital (12 percent) and funding for growth (10 percent).

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