The Brazilian, Russian, Indian and Chinese (BRIC) economies remain vulnerable and ill-placed to withstand shocks from major risk events, and a lack of improvement in the governance and societal resilience of these countries will undermine their economies’ investment potential, warned risk analysis company Maplecroft in its latest global risks atlas. In the 2012 report, the firm found that strong economic performance in these economies did not translate into improved governance, and it concluded that the BRIC countries are no better placed than they were four years ago to combat the potential adverse effects of pandemics, terrorism, resource security, economic contagion and climate change.

“With hopes for a global economic recovery resting with the BRICs, investors and business seeking new high-growth, high-risk markets need to be aware of their limited resilience to global risks,” said Alyson Warhurst, CEO of Maplecroft, in an official online statement.

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India and Russia, which ranked 19th and 30th, respectively, in the global risks index, were highlighted as ‘high-risk’ countries as they remain significantly exposed to the destabilising influence of internal insurgencies. The threat of Maoist groups in central India and separatist forces in the northern Caucasus in Russia are cited as posing serious threats to human security and business continuity.

China and Brazil fare marginally better, ranked 58th and 97th in the index, respectively. Nevertheless, according to Maplecroft's report: "China’s governance system... remains vulnerable to external influences given the size of the illicit economy and a lack of rule of law, while high exposure to the impacts of climate change could have dramatic impacts on economic sustainability in Brazil."

Ms Warhurst said: “Improvements in basic social infrastructure, such as education, healthcare and sanitation for large sections of society, are vital. Without these, and improvements in governance, the BRIC economies may not fully realise their investment potential.”

Somalia topped the ranking as the country most exposed to global risks, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan in second and third place, respectively. The high growth experienced by the resource-rich economies of Argentina, Chile and Mongolia, placed the countries in positions 123, 131 and 117, respectively, suggesting that they are relatively insulated from global risks.