Cybersecurity and economic woes are among the top concerns for executives in the UAE and the greater Middle East, according to statistics from the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Risk Report.
According to an executive opinion survey carried out by the WEF in 2017, the top concern for UAE executives moving into 2018 is the potential for a cyberattack, followed by an asset bubble, energy price shock, terrorist attack, deflation risk, or data fraud and theft.
“The increased concern about cyber-attacks is a global issue and not unique to the UAE,” said Steve Lundin, the Middle East and North Africa CEO of insurance brokerage and risk management company Marsh. “During 2017, there were a number of high-profile cyber-attacks that were very well documented…..cyber attacks are also growing in number, ferocity and frequency, and this had led to a heightened awareness of the risks associated with a cyber incident.”
In the greater MENA region, the greatest risks identified by the survey were fiscal crises, energy price shocks, unemployment or underemployment, terrorist attacks, or inter-state conflicts.
“If you compare the risks in the UAE against the risks for the wider Middle East and North Africa region and even globally, what stands out is the fact that social instability is not seen as a risk in the UAE,” Lundin noted. “In many other regions, including MENA, social instability is a relatively common concern.”
The WEF report – which is published every year in January – cautions that the world is struggling to keep up with the pace of change, such as by combating alarming rates of biodiversity loss and new wars.
The report’s global risk perceptions survey found that nearly 60 percent of 1,000 respondents globally believe risks will intensify in 2018, compared to 7 percent who believe risks will decline.
A worsening geopolitical landscape is partly to blame for this pessimistic outlook, with 93 percent of respondents saying they expect political or economic confrontations between major powers to worsen. Nearly 80 percent said they expected an increase in risks associated by wars involving major powers.
However, the greatest concern was found to be the environment, particularly the possibility of extreme weather events.
“A widening economic recovery presents us with an opportunity that we cannot afford to squander, to tackle the fractures that we have allowed to weaken the world’s institutions, societies and environment,” said World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman Professor Klaus Schwab. “We must take seriously the risk of a global systems breakdown.
“Together we have the resources and the new scientific and technological knowledge to prevent this. Above all, the challenge is to find the will and momentum to work together for a shared future,” he added.
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