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The importance of Geographic Risk Reports or “Country Risk Reports” for decision makers [1]

When we look at the international panorama as Portuguese, we get the false feeling that Portugal and the Portuguese will have little to suffer directly from actions carried out by terrorist or criminal organizations or political, economic or social changes. This is an incorrect idea if we look even superficially at the new reality and characteristics of the most recent terrorist attacks or criminal actions on foreign soil and the future trends they point to and even the recent political, economic and social events in states that seemed solid and where little evidence suggested changes in the nearest time horizon.

In this sense, before now, it is increasingly necessary for companies, their leaders and various organizations to understand this new reality, with the very important help of experienced professionals in the field who, focusing on policy matters; economic and social sectors of each State bring together a set of news - collected online and on the ground, from contacts and sources - that serve, on the date they are made available, as a barometer for the most common and immediate risks in the territory on which they affect .

We now give some arguments and examples regarding the importance of IntellCorp's reports to the client:

[1] Terrorism;

[2] Political issues;

[3] Economic issues;

[4] Social issues.

[1] Terrorism:

If the recent attacks awaken us to a type of violence that Europe was not used to, these actions bring nothing new to what should have been expected for some time and have been trying to prevent and anticipate, unfortunately without success in the reported cases. However, many other situations - not reported in real time but known a posteriori, for obvious security reasons - have been avoided by the action of the various Information Services and Security Forces.

The new face of terrorism assumes contours of irregular or low intensity war between a large number of States (mostly Western) and tribal groups and subgroups, governed by their own interests and with a doctrine that is not very consistent but shared among them with a plasticity that makes it difficult to anticipate your new actions. These groups, which organize and reorganize, expand with great ease in a logic of “where an element or a cell is, the group is represented” and without seeking to overcome an objective in the short or medium term invest in low cost shares with use of elements in the field or use of apparently integrated elements to cause maximum damage with minimum means.

If we consult the Global Terrorism Index 2015, from IEP / START, regarding the ranking of the states most affected by terrorism and with the greatest risk of becoming a target for future actions, we can see that Portugal's position in 110th place - Lowest impact of terrorism -, indicates that terrorism is something that we have little to worry about internally. But that is if we are no more than a linear analysis and interpretation of the data. In fact, we can also see that Belgium's position in 82nd place - Lowest impact of terrorism - indicates a similar low risk and recently we had the unfortunate opportunity to confirm that the risk would have been underestimated with the triple attack on Brussels that left a trail of 32 dead and 300 other victims.

At this stage, no expanding company; traveling executives or other types of organizations in their daily activities may underestimate this growing threat, terrorism and the direct consequences for the safety of their operations and the safety and morale of their employees. In this context, the recent reinforcement of the reported anti-terrorism prevention measures and the recognition by the Portuguese Counter-Information Services (the “Security Information Service - SIS”) stands out that there is a direct terrorist threat. to Portugal.

[2] Political issues:

At this point, the first thing that will pop into the minds of most people is the coup. In fact, between 2010 and 2016, there were about 30 coup attempts (some successful and some unsuccessful), of which the last one was that of Turkey, but they add up to 70 attempts at revolution, popular uprisings and organized movements. protest against the State (disruptive) and over 40 large general strikes.

If it is not enough to make any company uncomfortable, let us think that policies and legislation are the work of current and past governments and can suffer cancellations. We also have privatizations and nationalizations. We have the sudden changes in policies, due to electoral convenience or changes in political actors, such as the poor performance of any minister of a particular portfolio who is dismissed or the antibodies created around the image of a specific politician that require renegotiations with unions or simply giving in or sacrifice of companies in favor of temporary social pacification. We have the sudden political scandals. We have influences external to the State. Anyway, there are a great number of possibilities to be considered when following a certain geopolitical area that are hardly monitored by public institutions or bodies or can be summarized in spaced-out reports or generalist surveys such as what is provided to companies that intend to expand to the outside its national territory.

In practice, a monitoring of the political aspect of a State, including the areas of defense and security and the main actors; the strengths and the various vulnerabilities are a function that can hardly be performed by employees of a non-specialized company or even by the compilation of available official literature in which “make-up” and “attract” or open source news, which are governed by natural media interests specific to the media and whose target is a broader audience, to the detriment of a deepening of matters of interest to IntellCorp's client.

[3] Economic issues:

At this point, despite the fact that companies are better informed, they end up ignoring certain signs and not being in possession of material of their interest, which is essential to the correct decision-making. If this were not so, many of the recent situations with banking institutions could have taken a different course, possibly happier for some of the depositors and companies involved.

Those who have the competence to work in Intelligence cannot afford to ignore signals that have been made public in advance that some of the institutions would have serious problems in the near future. There was no lack of voices from different actors and international sectors with the issuance of reports or mere statements allowing a preparation for what was coming.

Intelligence's role in this area is to combine rigorous but broad research that allows permanent monitoring and adequate prevention, preventing companies from being caught off guard. IntellCorp's role towards the client, as Intelligence professionals, is to keep up with the news at all levels and with all its resources, allowing access to company leaders for a service that is generally only accessible to Heads of State.

To be continued...

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