In contrast, in 2017, cyber attacks were the top risk in two regions (East Asia and the Pacific and North America). In 2016, it was only in one region (North America).
Differences in risk perceptions
There are significant differences in risk perceptions across the eight regions covered in the World Economic Forum’s Regional Risks for Doing Business report.
Over 12,000 executives highlighted concerns ranging from economic to political, societal and technological.
Unemployment, failure of national governance and energy price shocks were among the top worries of executives across various regions.
The top risk in sub-Saharan Africa is unemployment. It represents mostly the absence of demand in the region.
“Understanding the evolving risks in different regions is therefore top of mind for business leaders.”
Need to strengthen cyber security
However, it is striking how many business leaders point to unemployment and national governance as the most pressing risks.
“Cyber attacks are seen as the number one risk for doing business in markets that account for 50% of global GDP.”
Thus, governments and businesses need to strengthen cyber security and resilience. This is to maintain confidence in a highly connected digital economy.
However, there is growing apprehension about the potential for national governance failures in emerging markets.
Additionally, businesses are also concerned with rising geopolitical friction.
It has already resulted in rising tariffs and sanctions.
Therefore, this can further fuel the growing threat of expropriation or political violence.