Heed changing political risks in Africa, SA businesses urged

2011-06-15 00:00

ALTHOUGH South Africa’s country level risk is rated as medium on the latest Terrorism and Political Violence Map for 2011 (The Map), South African businesses that have commercial interests in Africa need to be vigilant of this increase in political risks.

South Africa’s rating is on par with countries such as Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Cambodia.

The Map, released by insurer Aon Risk Solutions, provides an indication of overall levels of terrorism and political risk to international business.

The Map named Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Egypt and Libya, among others in Africa, as countries with the most severe risk levels in the world.

Nico Bianco, executive head of Risk Consulting at Aon South Africa, said the map highlights the need for businesses to be well informed of the trends developing rapidly across the world, in order to protect their business interests.

“The reality of the situation is that threats to commercial success exist in a variety of forms and the updated map seeks not to undermine the incidence or severity of terrorist threats, but to promote a more holistic approach to risk management services in Africa,” said Bianco.

Bianco advises that South African companies with commercial interests abroad should adhere to the following guidelines:

• Conduct risk management audits via a reputable risk management provider.

• Keep abreast of the socio-political sphere of the country of interest.

• Make use of accurate and up-to-date country risk analysis reports.

• Develop and regularly update a business continuity process.

• Implement a check-in service with a designated local contact to provide ‘on-the-ground’ situational updates for satellite offices potentially at risk.

• Implement an escalation process using local personnel and/or associates if employees becomes unreachable during elevated risk situations.

• And provide risk management training seminars with employees based in high risk countries.

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