The impact of skyrocketing inflation, debt crises, and the exploding cost of living are the biggest threats over the next two years in G20 countries, overshadowing environmental concerns, according to new data from the World Economic Forum.
The findings of the 2022 Executive Opinion Survey polled more than 12,000 business leaders from 22 countries.
Rapid and/or sustained inflation was the most commonly cited top risk, with 37% of G20 countries identifying it as a top concern, followed jointly by debt crises and the cost-of-living crisis, each at 21%. Geo-economic confrontation was identified as the top risk by two G20 countries, while other respondents cited the potential for state collapse and a lack of widespread digital services and digital inequality.
This year’s survey findings are a significant departure from 2021’s survey results, particularly in areas such as technological and environmental risk. Despite mounting environmental pressures over the last year, environmental issues placed significantly lower as a top-five risk for G20 countries in 2022. And despite the growing threat of cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, cybercrime and other tech risks were among the least commonly cited top-five risks this year.
The survey also exposed significant regional variations between advanced economies and emerging markets. While the economic risks associated with rapid and/or sustained inflation were named the top risk by respondents from Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, and East Asia and Pacific, societal concerns about the cost-of-living crisis were the dominant issue in the Middle East and Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. In Central Asia, interstate conflict topped the list, while debt crises were the chief concern in South Asia.