Infectious diseases main concern

Azlan Othman

East Asia and the Pacific ranked infectious diseases as their main concern, while other worries were also recognised when it comes to doing business such as asset bubbles, natural catastrophes, inter-state conflict and cyber-attacks.

This was revealed in a data from the Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020 report released ahead of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) inaugural Jobs Reset Summit, scheduled to take place from October 20-23. The summit aims to contribute toward shaping inclusive, fair and sustainable economies, societies and workplaces.

In ASEAN member states Cambodia and Thailand, 32 per cent and 44 per cent of respondents perceived asset bubbles as their top risk in business, respectively. Whereas Indonesia (52 per cent), Malaysia (45 per cent) and Vietnam (65 per cent) selected the spread of infectious diseases as their main concern.

Around 41 per cent of respondents from Lao PDR said that deflation was their greatest worry, while, understandingly – 55 per cent of surveyed Philippine business leaders ranked natural catastrophes as their top perceived business risk.

Every year, the WEF’s Executive Opinion Survey polls business leaders from around the world on their perceptions of top global risks. It is a study of what the world’s business community is most concerned about for the coming decade.

This year, the WEF found that unemployment is the main concern among executives globally, closely followed by infectious diseases – which progressed from last to second spot compared to last year’s data, while fiscal crisis rounds off the top three risks for doing business. The results are not entirely surprising, given the current crisis and impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

The findings of the Regional Risks for Doing Business 2020 are based on a survey of over 12,000 business leaders from 127 countries, including those in the East Asia and Pacific, Eurasia, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, among other regions.

Meanwhile, following events such as bushfires in Australia and flooding in Jakarta, executives in East Asia and the Pacific showed a strong concern for environmental risks. ‘Natural catastrophes’, ‘extreme weather events’, and ‘human-made environmental catastrophes’ all ranked in the Top 10 at regional level.