A Shift in Terrorism Trends

The Institute of Economics and Peace’s terrorism index (see Reference Desk) went up 6% in 2015, according to a summary from WEF. Despite a 10% drop in deaths from terrorism overall, developed countries had a 650% increase in deaths from terrorism: from 77 in 2014 to 577 in 2015, over half of which related to ISIS increasing attacks toward OECD members. The report attributes 75% of all terrorism-related deaths to ISIS, Book Haram, al-Qaeda, and the Taliban; ISIS claimed responsibility for over 6,000 deaths in 250 cities. From an economic burden perspective, terrorism costs the global economy $89.6 B (vs the $13.6T economic burden of violence overall), but can impact specific countries much more acutely: 17% of Iraq’s GDP, e.g.

The shift in terrorist activities toward OECD countries in part reflects local successes in Iraq and Nigeria to push terrorists out. The shift also implies, however, that companies will have to consider terrorism in developed markets as part of their assessments of geopolitical instability. At the very least, the issue will need to be flagged with Security and Business Continuity teams and could require some cross-divisional efforts to protect employees in countries with a large presence.


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