Top 5 risks businesses in the MENA region need to navigate in 2024

As we embark on 2024, the business landscape in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region remains dynamic. While opportunities abound, a complex interplay of internal and external factors presents significant challenges for businesses operating in the region. To navigate this uncertain terrain effectively, it’s crucial to identify and understand the key risks that lie ahead. Take a look at the top 5 risks your business may face.

1st: Economic slowdowns can negatively impact growth, profitability, and stability. A demand slump occurs when sales decline due to decreased demand for unnecessary goods and services, leading to inventory buildup and additional overheads. This can cause businesses to lower prices, squeeze profit margins, and face financial constraints like credit tightening and delayed payments. In the long run, economic slowdowns may result in lost opportunities, reputational damage, and decreased investment attractiveness. To mitigate risks, businesses should consider cost-cutting measures, diversifying offerings, and adapting to changing consumer needs.

What other mitigation measures do you believe might be a viable option?

2nd: Exchange rate fluctuations pose a significant risk, causing increased costs such as higher import costs, foreign expenses, and foreign currency debts. Uncertainty arises from difficulties in budgeting and forecasting, contractual risks in fixed-price contracts with foreign clients, and supply chain disruptions. These fluctuations can make it difficult to source materials or deliver products to foreign markets on time and within budget. Mitigating these issues involves diversifying the supply chain and using hedging instruments.

3rd: Political risk as depicted by a statistic released by the World Bank estimates that “five of the ten most fragile states globally are located in the MENA region”. This affects businesses by disrupting supply chains, causing production delays, lost revenue, and increased security costs. Indirect impacts include instability, corruption, and bribery, which can increase operational costs, deter investors, and damage a company’s reputation. Inefficient bureaucratic processes and permits can also be inefficient in some countries. Indirect impacts include reduced investor confidence, making it difficult to raise capital, and economic uncertainty. Mitigation strategies include effective risk management, transparency, and ethical practices, which can be achieved with the aid of whistleblowing platforms like iVoiceUp offering valuable support.

4th: The region is facing liquidity risk, causing impaired operations, financial distress, reputational damage, missed opportunities, and increased legal risks. Impaired operations include delayed payments, inventory shortages, reduced investment, high-interest loans, and debt defaults. Reputational damage may result from supplier trust loss, employee turnover, and customer confidence loss. Mitigation strategies include effective financial management practices, diversifying revenue streams, and contingency plans. iVoiceUp, an industry agnostic SaaS solution, can help mitigate liquidity risk and impaired operations.

5th: Cyber attack or data breach is another risk businesses in the MENA region are expected to face. Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies reports that the “number of cyberattacks in the MENA region increased by 65% in 2023”. This number is expected to increase further due to political instability and economic slowdown. Looking at the glass half full, though, Security Intelligence shed light on the fact that “insider threats are reportedly the primary cause for 60 percent of data breaches.” Here, the company’s proper application of its ethics and compliance rules is a must. One of the companies which will enable such a proper application to take place is iVoiceUp with which the prevalence of insider threat will drop significantly.

These are just some of the top risks that businesses in the MENA region face in 2024. By being aware of these risks and taking steps to mitigate them, businesses can improve their chances of success in this dynamic and challenging region. With the help of iVoiceUp, you can mitigate most of these risks along with other issues such as fraud, embezzlement, sexual harassment, HSE, and much more.

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