Build trust to secure your legacy

PwC East Africa Family Business Survey 2023


PwC’s 2023 East Africa Family Business Survey report comes at a time of great change and uncertainty. The optimism of a post-COVID world has been sorely tested by geopolitical turmoil including the war in Ukraine and the recent outbreak of violence in Israel and Palestine. The impact around the world is still unfolding. With the survey coming at a time of such uncertainty, we focused on building trust to secure the family business legacy. From a business perspective, trust is crucial not only from customers but also from employees, family members, and the general public.

Our report covers the East Africa countries of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Ethiopia. We surveyed 95 family business owners to gauge whether current leaders and the next generation of family businesses are prioritising the most key issues to build trust and secure their legacy. 

The notion of how to build trust in business is changing—fundamentally and rapidly. For everyone—including customers and employees—issues like environmental, social, and  governance (ESG) and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have become litmus tests for trustworthiness. Our survey results highlight that family businesses are struggling to prioritise these key areas of focus — and may be missing the opportunity to explain their company’s mission, values, and impact. 

There is a new formula for building trust that requires a transformative approach, and stakeholder expectations are evolving.

New ways how family businesses can transform to build trust

Family businesses must model their strong ideals in their relationships with internal and external stakeholders, starting with a fair internal system for reporting misbehaviour and a clear feedback mechanism for customers to help build trust.

Family businesses have become used to keeping a low profile and are often reluctant to share details about their business publicly. However, transparency is essential to trust. This means regular public reporting of the company’s ESG and DEI targets, and its performance against those targets.

In order to build public trust, family businesses are expected to be more vocal, visible and active than before to show that they care about what’s going on in the world.

The message from this year’s survey is clear: In order to survive through generations and build trust, family businesses have to be open to change through transformation. In today’s world, that means not just their customers, employees and family members, but also the public at large.

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PwC East Africa Family Business Survey 2023

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Michael Mugasa

Michael Mugasa

Partner and Leader | Private Business Services, PwC Kenya

Tel: +254 (0) 731 912 693

Sunny  Vikram

Sunny Vikram

Partner | Tax and Private Business Service, PwC Kenya

Tel: +254 (0) 748 599 580