Confidence among businesses improved in December, partly buoyed by political developments, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said on Wednesday.

SACCI did not specify the political developments in question, but investors have applauded the election in December of Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, a former businessman, as the new leader of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), a move they hope will steer the country towards more economic-friendly policies.

On Wednesday, SACCI said its Business Confidence Index (BCI) rose by 1.3 index points to 96.4 in December.

“The BCI improved on a more positive business mood and political developments that are expected to put South Africa in a position for more encouraging business and economic policy options,” it said.

“The anticipation for more policy certainty and sustainable growth orientated domestic economic policy, global economic growth, and a probable fresh approach towards business and investor challenges should further augment the business mood.”

Business confidence has suffered in the last couple of years as allegations of graft swirled around President Jacob Zuma and his allies. 

The South African leader rejects critics’ charges that he has peddled his political influence for personal financial gain since coming to power, derailing the country’s traditionally sound economic policies.

“The challenges faced by fiscal consolidation, unemployment, excessive debt, low growth and sovereign credit ratings remain challenges that require visionary leadership and urgent and strong action going forward,” SACCI said on Wednesday.

– African News Agency