Leading global risk analytics firm Maplecroft have put out a midyear update of the countries facing the worst risk of conflict and political violence. All together, 48 countries around the world have seen these risks intensify over the last six months.
Ukraine, due to the political instability of the interim government, saw the biggest increase in risk and dropped 52 places in the stability ranking. Maplecroft expects Ukraine to drop further in its 2014 rankings when the impact of pro-Russian separatists overrunning eastern Ukraine are taken into account.
Surprisingly, Ukraine is only the 35th least stable country in the world with Russia being designated as being more potentially unstable.
The Arab Spring countries altogether have seen the biggest increase in risk since 2011. Worryingly for investors, the high growth economies of Colombia, Nigeria, the Philippines, India, Bangladesh, Thailand, China, Indonesia, and Turkey are all also rated as being at ‘high’ or ‘extreme risk.’
Below are the 16 most unstable countries according to the Maplecroft report.
Syria has been in a state of civil war for a little over three years and over 1 million refugees having fled into neighbouring Lebanon alone. The Syrian regime has also used Sarin gas and chlorine bombs against rebel fighters and civilians.
Central African Republic
An African Union (AU) soldier stands guard outside a home at the end of a funeral of two men killed by sectarian violence in the Muslim neighbourhood of Kilometre 5 (PK5) in Bangui, the capital of the Central African Republic, on March 23, 2014.
The UN Security Council has unanimously voted to send peacekeepers to the Central African Republic amongst fears that the sectarian violence between Christians and Muslims could spiral into genocide.
Sectarian violence in Iraq is reaching its worst levels since the country almost descended into civil war in 2007 and 2008. Hard-line al Qaeda spin off ISIS has also taken control of vast swathes of western Iraq after exploiting the chaos in Syria as a spring board.
South Sudan is the world’s newest country, and it is also one of the world’s poorest. It has also been in a state of civil war since last December which has displaced at least 800,000 people so far.
Afghanistan is poised to become a narco-state. Its opium production is at an all-time high, U.S. troops are due to withdrawal down to minuscule numbers, and the Taliban continues to operate throughout the country.
Somalia has been without a functioning central government since the 1990s. During this time various armed groups have come to prominence, with al Shabaab being the most worrying as it has carried out terrorist attacks across the border in Kenya.
Democratic Republic of Congo
The Democratic Republic of Congo has been in a state of civil war since 1996. During this time over 5 million people have died and violence, famine, and displacement remain constants in life in eastern regions of the DRC.
Libya has faced growing unrest since Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown during the Arab Spring in 2011. Since then, Libya has faced difficulties establishing a central government, curtailing weapons shipments, disarming former militias, and controlling its oil exports.
The Darfur conflict in Sudan, labelled a genocide by many in the international community, is still continuing at low levels. Other minorities in Darfur frequently complain of discrimination by the Arab-dominated government, with some having taken up arms.
Pakistan has been embroiled for years in a battle against the Pakistani Taliban, who have targeted NATO workers, health care professionals, and Pakistani soldiers. The country is also the frequent target of U.S. drone attacks and supports large numbers of Afghan refugees.
Colombia has been fighting drug cartels and a range of rebel forces, including FARC, for years. Rebels frequently attack economic interests, such as pipelines. Colombia also has a startling murder rate of 30.8 per 100,000 people.
Yemen has become one of the key centres for a resurgence of al Qaeda in the world. The Yemeni branch of al Qaeda acts relatively in the open, has support, and has pledged to attack western interests. Drone strikes have also become a fact of life in Yemen.
Myanmar has been shifting slowly away from a military dictatorship. However, during this time it has severely limited rights of its Muslim minority, allowed radical Buddhist monks to incite crowds to violence, and has kicked Doctors Without Borders out of the country.
Egypt has had an extremely rocky transition after the Arab Spring forced Mubarak to resign. The first elected president, Muhammad Morsi, was forced from power by the military, which has proceeded to crack down on the Muslim Brotherhood and hand down mass death sentences. Terrorists have also taken advantage of the chaos to carry out attacks throughout the country.
Nigeria is facing a myriad of threats. Boko Haram has carried out a five year terrorist campaign culminating in kidnapping 230 girls in the north of the country. The country is also facing hefty corruption problems and falling oil prices upon which it is dependent for growth.
Although Putin is facing amazingly high approval ratings following his actions in Ukraine, the situation in Russia is disintegrating. Russia has started viciously censoring the internet, arresting political dissidents, and Russia’s demography is in complete shambles.
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