African risk managers are grappling with just the same complex risks that are rooted in the fast-changing global economy as their peers in Europe and the profession is growing up fast as a result.
African risk managers may have to deal with certain risks that are not high on the agendas of European risk managers such as piracy, corruption and the threat of deadly violent strikes.
But the bottomline is that the overall risk agenda in South Africa and the wider African continent is being driven by exactly the same political, social and economic stresses and strains that is driving the agenda in Europe, even if it can manifest itself in very different ways.
This is one of the key findings of the first stage of Commercial Risk Europe’s Global Risk Frontiers Survey of leading risk managers around the world that kicks off with Africa in a recent report.
The survey was based on a roundtable of risk managers held recently in Cape Town, individual interviews with speakers and delegates held at the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) annual conference in November and the IQPC Enterprise Risk Management event in Johannesburg at the end of January.
The Cape Town roundtable found that social unrest, unemployment, regulatory burdens and credit weigh heavy on the minds of South African risk managers currently.
Domestic turmoil arising from dissatisfaction at disparity of income and political mistrust, as seen in the Arab Spring, found its way to South African shores last year, leading to the biggest risk faced by South African companies in recent times.
The turmoil in South Africa from mining strikes and riots is a local example of the increasing global risk of social unrest, explained Antonella da Cunha, group risk manager for Capespan, during the roundtable.
“However, it is also a lack of education among the people that has contributed to these riots, not just in the mining sector, but also in the agriculture sector. In general people are frustrated and dissatisfied with service delivery,” she said.
The rate of unemployment among South Africans aged 18-25 is currently a gigantic 50 percent and this factor fuels riots and significantly disrupts business in South Africa, according to the participants of the roundtable.