10 things South African businesses are most stressed about in 2017

Aside from political uncertainty, a tough local and global economy and increasing cyber threats, South African businesses are now also stressing about the weather in 2017.

This is according to the latest Allianz Risk Barometer for 2017, which gauges the biggest worries and risks faced by businesses across the globe.

Globally, businesses are becoming increasingly worried about the unpredictability of the global business environment, following a few surprises that cropped up in 2016 with Britain’s decision to exit the EU, and the US electing Donald Trump as president.

“Companies worldwide are bracing for a year of uncertainty,” said CEO of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty, Chris Fischer Hirs, (AGCS).

“Unpredictable changes in the legal, geopolitical and market environment around the world are constant items on the agenda of risk managers and the C-suite.”

South African businesses are no exception to this; however, the local risk landscape has other things to consider, with natural catastrophes making its debut among the ten biggest risks companies face in the country.

While South Africa isn’t known for extreme weather, the past year has seen a lot of damage done by hail storms and flash flooding – but taking the prime spotlight is the severe drought which battered the country’s agricultural sector in 2016.

Natural disasters are a big worry, but only ranks as the 7th biggest stress among SA businesses. Cyber incidents – such as cyber crime, data leaks and IT failure – still ranks supreme, with 30% of companies ranking it as the top worry for the year.

“Cyber incidents costs the South African economy around R35 billion annually, with the most common threats being from hackers, disgruntled employees, negligence and competitors – so (it’s no) surprise to see this risk ranked first in the country for the second year in a row,” said Nobuhle Nkosi, Head of Financial Lines AGCS Africa.

South Africa also continues to face macroeconomic challenges – including low commodity prices, the Chinese slowdown, and the tightening of US monetary policy – while also suffering from its own internal pressures such as inflation, weak domestic demand and socio-political tensions, Nkosi said.

These are the 10 biggest risks companies face in 2017

# Risk 2017 2016
1 Cyber incidents 30% 42%
2 Business interruption 29% 32%
3 Macroeconomic developments 28% 26%
3 Market developments 28% 21%
5 Changes in legislation and regulation 25% 16%
6 Fire, explosion 21% 16%
7 Natural catastrophes 17% New
7 Political risk and violence 17% 16%
9 Talent shortage 16% New
10 New technologies 14% 16%

Read: 7 predictions for South Africa’s economy in 2017

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10 things South African businesses are most stressed about in 2017