The newly-released index showed 47 of the world’s 195 nations witnessed a rise in civil unrest in 2019 and predicted the figure will soar to 75 countries over the next 12 months. The report said: “With protests continuing to rage across the globe, we expect both the intensity of civil unrest, as well as the total number of countries experiencing disruption, to rise over the coming 12 months.”
Hong Kong and Chile were named as the two hotspots which suffered the biggest surge in unrest last year and researchers warned neither was expected to return to peace for at least two years.
Potential flashpoints for increased turmoil this year include Nigeria, Lebanon and Bolivia.
Countries dropping into a category labeled “extreme risk” include Ethiopia, India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe.
The report authors said: “The pent-up rage that has boiled over into street protests over the past year has caught most governments by surprise.
“Most of the grievances are deeply entrenched and would take years to address.”
Sudan has overtaken Yemen to become the highest risk country globally, according to the assessment published by socio-economic and political analysis firm Verisk Maplecroft.
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Strife-torn Sudan spiralled into crisis when ruler Omar al-Bashir was overthrown last April with protests and killings soaring while military forces battle pro-democracy supporters to seize power.
The bitter and bloody Yemen conflict has been raging since 2015 as Shia and Sunni Muslim forces wrestle for power.
Verisk Maplecroft’s predictions for 2020 make grim reading with both the number of countries witnessing protest and the intensity of unrest expected to rise.
Countries identified in this troubling bracket include powerful nations such as Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Thailand and Brazil.
The London-based analysts claim 2019 is unlikely to be a “flash in the pan” and are warning companies and investors will have to adapt to increased unrest.
Verisk Maplecroft said multinational firms would come under growing pressure to show corporate responsibility, especially in countries “rich in natural resources where mining and energy projects often need high levels of protection”.
The report said: “However, companies are at substantial danger of complicity if they employ state or private security forces that perpetrate violations.”