8:00-9:30am. Multiple sources of conflict and unrest shook the international community in 2014. From the seizure of territory in Iraq and Syria by militant Islamist group Islamic State (IS), to the growing crisis in Ukraine, and the largest Ebola outbreak in history spreading through West Africa, it was a turbulent year. Looking ahead, 2015 is set to see the continuation of these trends, with terrorism, civil unrest and public health among central concerns for risk managers.
In Africa, the forecast reviews the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, terrorism and insurgency as Boko Haram, al-Shabaab and al-Qaeda continue to pose a threat in specific regions, as do civil conflicts in the Central African Republic, South Sudan and the DR Congo. Political risk is likely to increase as a series of long-term presidents face the issue of succession in their countries, raising the risk of civil unrest.
In the Middle East and North Africa, the Islamic State insurgency will continue to dominate the security outlook in 2015. However, pressure from an increasingly unified opposition may impact on the gains made by IS in 2014, most of all in Iraq. In neighbouring Syria, there are few indications to suggest the conflict there will end in 2015.
In Asia, concerns over militancy will persist across the region and the full impact of the international drawdown in Afghanistan will be realised. Growing cooperation on terrorism is a positive development, but India-Pakistan tensions nevertheless persist in the long term.
China's stance on territorial claims in the South and East China Seas will shape relations in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the Americas, key concerns surrounding security, the economy and political stability will persist, centred in particular on organised crime, civil unrest and political interference in national economies. The diversification of drug gangs' sources of income is set to continue, with the extractive industries representing the biggest target, although drug trafficking will continue to present a serious threat.
In Europe, key issues persisting into 2015 include increasing Islamist extremism and radicalism in EU countries, particularly the response to the threat posed by 'lone-wolf" extremists; ongoing austerity measures, which could trigger strikes and protest action; and the potential impact of Russia's belligerence in Eastern Europe.
In Russia and CIS, the eastern Ukraine crisis will remain a prominent concern. The consequences of Russia's deteriorating economic outlook and anxiety over the Kremlin's foreign policy will dominate the security environment in 2015.
The Global Forecast takes a view of these and other risks, aiming with incisive commentary to indicate trends and to provide clarity for the year ahead.
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Light breakfast included
Hosted by the T rade & Investment Committee