The 15th edition of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report is published as critical risks are manifesting. The global economy is facing an increased risk of stagnation, climate change is striking harder and more rapidly than expected, and fragmented cyberspace threatens the full potential of next-generation technologies — all while citizens worldwide protest political and economic conditions and voice concerns about systems that exacerbate inequality. The challenges before us demand immediate collective action, but fractures within the global community appear to only be widening. Stakeholders need to act quickly and with purpose within an unsettled global landscape.
The world in 2019 is more intertwined and complex than ever before. While interconnections have brought stability in past decades, tightly wound systems are becoming more vulnerable. Across every realm – cyber, environmental, economic, geopolitical, societal – we are seeing fraying threads in the fabric that cloaks society. The World Economic Forum’s global risks work serves to signal which threads, when pulled, could lead to an unraveling of entire systems.
The Regional Risks for Doing Business report offers a business perspective on the impact of global risks and illustrates how they are experienced differently in each region. In today’s fraught geopolitical context, regional coordination is increasingly important. We publish this report with the hope that it will help shape each region’s agenda vis-à-vis the global risks landscape, moving the needle for regions aiming to play an increasingly pivotal role in the years ahead.
The South Asia Risks Landscape comes as South Asia is growing rapidly and positioning itself to exert more geopolitical influence but also faces risks in the form of climate crises—particularly relating to water—and country-level governance and economic challenges.
The paper incorporates data from the World Economic Forum’s Executive Opinion Survey 2019, which polled business leaders in five South Asian countries: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. It also uses data from the Forum’s Global Risks Perception Survey 2018-2019, which polled experts and decision-makers around the world.
The survey results, together with additional qualitative research, point to a region that can build resiliency by promoting greater connectivity and cooperation.