Executive Education

Here are the 10 biggest potential threats to the global economy in 2016

Failure to deal with climate change and mass forced migration are the two biggest threats to the world right now, according to an annual survey of economists and business leaders by the World Economic Forum, ahead of the spread of weapons of mass destruction and water crises.

A failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation has been cited as the number one global risk with the greatest potential impact in 2016.

Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation was viewed as having greater potential damage than weapons of mass destruction, which ranked second; water crises, which placed third; mass forced migration, which came in fourth; and severe energy price shocks, which came in fifth.

The report, prepared by the WEF in collaboration with risk specialists Marsh & McLennan and Zurich Insurance Group, was based on a survey of more than 13,000 executives in 140 countries, across business, academia, civil society and the public sector.

Top 10 risk in terms of impact:

1. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
2. Weapons of mass destruction
3. Water crises
4. Large-scale involuntary migration
5. Energy price shock
6. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem collapse
7. Fiscal crisis
8. Spread of infectious diseases
9. Asset bubble
10. Profound social instability

When asked which risk was most likely to materialise in 2016, respondents chose mass forced migration. Top 10 risk in terms of likelihood:

1. Large-scale involuntary migration
2. Extreme weather events
3. Failure of climate change mitigation and adaptation
4. Interstate conflict with regional consequences
5. Major natural catastrophes
6. Failure of national governance
7. Unemployment and underemployment
8. Data fraud or theft
9. Water crises
10.Illicit trade


Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj
Dr. Amarendra Bhushan Dhiraj is the CEO and editorial director at CEOWORLD magazine, the leading global business magazine written strictly for CEOs, CFOs, top managers, company directors, investors, senior executives, business leaders, and high net worth individuals.