Geopolitical and geo-economic tensions “most urgent risk” in 2019: WEF

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The World Economic Forum’s Global Risks Report 2019, released yesterday, shows that 90% of experts expect further economic confrontation between major powers in 2019. Trade disputes worsened during 2018 and the report warns that growth in 2019 will be held back by continuing geo-economic tensions, with 88% of respondents surveyed expecting a further erosion of multilateral trading rules and agreements.

Cyber and technological threats are the most significant blind spots identified by the report. Networked societies are increasingly vulnerable – a fact not yet fully appreciated. At the same time, the world’s ability to foster collective action the face of urgent major crises has reached crisis levels.

The report also indicates that environmental degradation is the long-term risk that defines our age, with four of the top five most impactful risks in 2019 related to climate.

According to John Drzik, President of Global Risk and Digital, Marsh & McLennan, “Persistent underfunding of critical infrastructure worldwide is hampering economic progress, leaving businesses and communities more vulnerable to both cyberattacks and natural catastrophes, and failing to make the most of technological innovation. Allocating resources to infrastructure investment, in part through new incentives for public-private partnerships, is vital for building and strengthening the physical foundations and digital networks that will enable societies to grow and thrive.”

The report incorporates the results of the annual Global Risks Perception Survey of approximately 1 000 experts and decision-makers.