Over the last six months, levels of conflict and political violence have jumped significantly in 48 countries as a consequence of popular revolutions and regime change,a study releasedreveals.
In its latest conflict and political violence index, global risk analytics company Maplecroft analyzed 197 nations, placing the most risky at the top of the list. These countries include resource-rich Central African Republic (ranked 2nd most at risk), South Sudan (4th), Somalia (6th), DR Congo (7th), and Libya (8th), all of which saw significant increases in risk. Syria, considered the most risky place, retained its status, while Iraq (3rd), Afghanistan (5th), Sudan (9th), and Pakistan (10th) filed the bottom ten countries in the category.
From the states analyzed, Ukraine was the one that experienced the greatest fall in the index, dropping 52 places to 35th most at risk due to ongoing violence following the popular uprising in Kiev. Maplecroft expects the country’s ranking to fall even further this year.
“Over the longer term, analysis of conflict and political violence trends offer an essential barometer for global organizations and governments looking to monitor security risks to investments, populations and the dynamic geopolitical landscape,” says Charlotte Ingham, principal political risk analyst at Maplecroft.
She adds that the Middle East and North African regions had a difficult 2013, particularly Iraq (3rd), which endured its bloodiest year since 2008.
The report also highlights key emerging markets where the index of conflict and risk as reached the “high” and “extreme” categories, such as Colombia, Nigeria, Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Indonesia and Turkey.
“Over the longer term, analysis of conflict and political violence trends offer an essential barometer for global organisations and governments looking to monitor security risks to investments, populations and the dynamic geopolitical landscape,” states Principal Political Risk Analyst at Maplecroft, Charlotte Ingham. “Since 2011, we have identified 76 countries that have seen a significant increase in the risk in the CPVI.”
According to Maplecroft, many countries witnessing the largest upswing in risk have experienced political upheaval due to societal unrest over civil and political rights and government corruption, which has resulted in rising human rights violations by security forces, conflict and deteriorating security environments. Nowhere is this more evident than in Middle East and North African countries that witnessed ‘Arab uprisings’ in 2011, including Syria, which fell from 69th in 2010 to 1st in 2014, Libya (110th to 8th), and Egypt ( 45th to14th), all of which are classified as ‘extreme risk’ in the index.
Syria’s ranking in the CPVI, reflects not only the severity of the conflict, which has left an estimated 150,000 dead in the last 3 years, but also the impact on its society. The country is now ranked by Maplecroft as highest risk for sexual violence in conflict, child soldiers and internally displaced people and refugees.
Elsewhere in the region, Iraq (3rd) endured its bloodiest year since 2008, with Maplecroft’s Terrorism Dashboard recording 3278 incidents of terrorism resulting in 6034 deaths and 15023 injuries, compared to 2155 incidents of terrorism, in which 2836 people were killed and 7850 wounded in the previous 12 month period. These figures reveal not only a 50% increase in the number of attacks, but also a significant intensification of violence with attacks proving increasing deadly.
Violence impacting investors in growth economies
Many of the world’s key growth markets also feature in the ‘high’ and ‘extreme risk’ categories of the Conflict and Political Violence Index, including Colombia (11th), Nigeria (15th), Philippines (17th), India (18th), Bangladesh (21st), Thailand (23rd), China (25th), Indonesia (29th) and Turkey (31st).
Of particular concern, is Nigeria, now Africa’s largest economy. The country is rated as ‘extreme risk’ in the CPVI for the fifth year running, due to persistent insecurity, including increasing risks of kidnapping and piracy. Violence in the country creates significant challenges for companies in terms of ensuring the safety of employees and facilities, as well as increasing their insurance and security costs. While the Islamist terror threat is likely to remain largely focused on the north-east, the Abuja bus station attack in April 2014, which left at least 75 people dead, demonstrates the ability of Boko Haram to carry out isolated attacks in the central or southern regions of the country.
“Societal unrest and its repression by state security forces acting with impunity are early indicators of political risk – including societally induced regime change and resource nationalism – and have the ability to destabilise the business environment readily,” adds Maplecroft CEO Alyson Warhurst. "More frequent risk monitoring is therefore becoming a business imperative.”