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Covid-19: Growing risks in a dangerous world

Posted on 14th May 2020 at 14:24pm

Risk trends are increasing ten times faster as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a report released by Sibylline. The conclusion is that Covid-19 is turning the world into a far more volatile, complex and ambiguous place in which to live and do business, at a rate higher than is generally yet realised. This will pose rapid future challenges to businesses already struggling to deal with the obvious crisis.

The report demonstrates that the global crisis surrounding the pandemic is being exacerbated by environmental events such as the Atlantic hurricane season and locust plagues in East Africa. The effects of the virus are being further magnified by socioeconomic problems caused by the measures taken to combat it, such as widespread bankruptcy and mass redundancies, accelerating underlying trends.

Key findings include:

  • Global risk trends increased twice as much between December 2019 and May 2020 as in the entire four-year period before the crisis;
  • Indicators show that 163 countries will see a sharply deteriorating political, security, criminal or governance situation as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, with a 63 per cent swing towards negative trends;
  • Security threats are mainly being driven by increases in regional tensions and a steady rise in domestic unrest, with 114 countries expected to see an increased level of agitation;
  • Eighty-seven per cent of the world is due to see GDP per capita markedly decline, affecting stability and security in a feedback cycle;
  • Terrorism threats have fallen significantly since 2015, but will accelerate as a result of the crisis, as groups and individuals – particularly on the right wing – exploit the situation; and
  • One-hundred-and-forty-one countries are expected to see a notable increase in criminal activity, mostly in the form of organised crime.

The report is based on data from Sibylline’s proprietary Aggregated Strategic Threat Risk Assessment (ASTRA) platform, produced using on-the-ground intelligence combined with analysis from the company’s World Risk Register service.

The firm has opened its predictive Covid-19 analysis and reporting for free since the beginning of the pandemic to help organisations to deal with the crisis.

Justin Crump, CEO of Sibylline and lead author says: “The findings indicate an impending wave of risk and danger, threatening the recovery of economies and prospects for organisations worldwide.

“It is not just the pandemic itself that is testing business resilience, it is the second order effects and growing risk across almost every factor that makes for sobering reading. Timely intelligence is essential for business leaders to cut through the noise, establish likely impacts and mitigate them. As has been shown during the crisis so far, without sound intelligence and the agility to respond, an organisation will not achieve the resilience it needs to survive current or future threats.”

According to Tamara Makarenko, COO and Head of Investigations, whose concept of the crime-terror nexus was the subject of a UN Security Council resolution: “We assess that there will be no return to ‘business as normal’ in the wake of this extended situation. Local support infrastructures are in place and tested regularly, in companies and at state level. There are serious lessons to be learned from Covid-19, namely, the absolute need for resilience at all levels. The need for governance, democracy and security has never been more important as the world looks to create positive outcomes in, what has to be seen, as a vulnerable time for businesses and society.”

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