‘More than half of countries now high or extreme risk for political instability’

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
13 December 2013

More than half of countries worldwide are now classified as extreme or high risk for political instability, according to a report.

The Maplecroft Political Risk Atlas said conflict, terrorism and regime instability in the Middle East and North Africa, along with political violence and “resource nationalism” in East Africa, have driven a rise in political risk.

Somalia, Syria and Afghanistan are ranked as the top three countries for risk, while almost 10 per cent of all countries globally have seen a “significant increase” in risk since 2010.

Over the past year, 15 per cent of countries have seen a rise in the risk of resource nationalism, where governments attempt to offset social unrest through populist policies “funded by creeping resource nationalism, i.e. through taxes and local content requirements, or through outright expropriation”, the report said.

Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst said: “The trend of increased dynamic political risk is largely driven by longer-term societal challenges, such as threats to human security and the undermining of political freedoms by oppressive regimes.

“This increases the potential for societal unrest and instability, particularly in countries with high levels of social gains, such as education and IT literacy, among a disenfranchised youth.”

Maplecroft said countries with “significant disparity between political freedoms and social gains” and therefore the “highest potential for socially forced regime change” were Uzbekistan, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkmenistan, Belarus, Cuba, Bahrain, Vietnam, Kazakhstan and UAE.

Countries that experienced a “significant decrease” in risk over the past four years included the Philippines, India, Uganda, Ghana, Israel and Malaysia.

The top 10 countries with most political risk are:

  1. Somalia
  2. Syria
  3. Afghanistan
  4. DR Congo
  5. Sudan
  6. Central African Republic
  7. Yemen
  8. Libya
  9. South Sudan
  10. Iraq


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