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The Sales Managers Index: Africa

Released: March 21, 2017


Pan-African Economy Growing Steadily in March

  • Market Growth Index increased above 50 after five months in contraction territory
  • Nigeria grows out of recession as South Africa registers modest improvements
  • Price Inflation picks up pace across Africa

The World Economics Headline Sales Managers’ Index (SMI) for Africa – a composite indicator providing the most up-to-date monthly assessment of economic activity in the region – improved by 1.6 index points to 51.3 in March. The Pan-African Market Growth Index, which represents overall economic growth, has ticked up above the 50.0 ‘no change’ level which separates growth from contraction for the first time in five consecutive months in March. This level, indicates that the Pan-African economy is starting to grow after a period of shallow contraction. Nigeria is leading the way after a solid month of gains as South Africa saw small improvements also. The Eastern economy of Kenya, which had a strong economy during 2016, has experienced five consecutive months of slowdown and is now starting to post very low levels of growth. Overall, business conditions are set to remain challenging across the continent with low sales growth and higher price inflation expected.



Headline Sales Managers' Index




Market Growth Index




Sales Managers' Index Trends

  Direction Speed
SMI Growing Slowly
Business Confidence Growing Fast
Market Growth Falling Very slowly
Sales Output Falling Very Slowly
Prices Charged Growing Solidly
Staffing Levels Falling Modestly





Price charged Index





About Pan-Africa SMI Data



The Sales Managers Index provide the earliest monthly data on the speed and direction of Pan-African economic activity.

Key advantages of the Pan-Africa SMI:
  • The SMI provides the first indication each month of the speed and direction of economic growth in Africa.
  • The SMI provides the most complete indication of growth, covering all private sector activity.
  • The SMI is based on a key occupational group - uniquely able to sense changes in business activity levels.
  • The SMI is composite index of business confidence, market growth, sales, prices charged and staffing levels.
  • The SMI is a diffusion index, any index value above 50 indicates growth and below 50 indicates contraction.

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