Norway retains resilience crown

Norway has retained its place at the top of the charts in a global study of resilience factors carried out by FM Global. It is followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Germany, Finland, Sweden, Luxembourg, Austria, central US and the UK in the insurer's 2019 Resilience Index.

For the first time this year, corporate governance was added to the algorithm for ranking resilience of nations’ business environments, with Singapore ranked top. Two African countries were the biggest year-over-year movers in corporate governance. Rwanda climbed 50 places (from 79th to 29th), contributing to this year’s biggest rise in the overall index. The rise makes Rwanda the highest-ranked African country for corporate governance. South Africa fell eight places in the overall index (from 39th to 47th), in part due to its 20-place drop in the corporate governance ranking (from 14th to 34th).

The index is designed to help chief financial officers and other business leaders choose resilience as they manage their own risk, site facilities, extend supply chains and cultivate. These moves are particularly relevant as global business leaders eye the African market. South Africa attracted 446% more foreign direct investment in 2018 than in 2017, even as global FDI receded. The UK is the second biggest investor in Africa, with a view to become the leading G7 investor in Africa.

“Resilience is critical for CFOs as trade conflicts, weakening economies, national elections, Brexit and evolving climate risks prompt companies to rethink their locations and partners,” said Kevin Ingram, executive vice-president and chief financial officer at FM Global. “We believe resilience is a choice that industry leaders make, and the Index gives executives one more tool with which to make good decisions about their futures.”

Cyber security, a board-level concern, is a key ingredient of resilience and is reflected in the Index. After another year of major cyber attacks, several developed countries strengthened their positions in the inherent cyber risk category, including Germany (up 24 places to 54th), France (up 12 to 89th), US (up 9 to 32nd) and the UK (up 2 to 62nd).

The US is viewed as three regions in the index because of its varying exposures to natural hazards. The Eastern region comes in 11th, and the Western region comes in 22nd.

The bottom three countries in the index are Ethiopia, Venezuela and Haiti.

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