Political Succession Risks for Investors to Watch in 2019

21 March 2019

Succession risks will continue to dominate the political risk landscape across emerging markets in 2019. Disorderly transitions of political power present immediate and long-term risks to business and investment.

From strikes, riots and civil commotion to political violence and civil war, unmanaged political transition can disrupt the business environment and harm commercial interests.

In our latest article we highlight those countries where political transition presents a high degree of risk in 2019.

Strikes, riots and civil commotion (SRCC) are a frequent outcome of disorderly political succession and increase the likelihood of business disruption and reputational loss. The most severe cases are likely to be violent, heightening the risk of death or injury to  employees and damage to company property.

Succession Risks InfographicPolitical succession risks in the following seven countries will be elevated for 2019. We highlight the key risks to investors and present the headline event in-country.  



President: Abdulaziz Bouteflika
Age: 81
Time in power: 19 years
Key risks: Business Interruption, Government/Regulation Change
Recent events: Anti-Bouteflika protests in Algiers – Feb, 2019
Bouteflika will attempt to run for a fifth Presidential term in 2019 despite ill health and deepening unpopularity.

Algeria is a crucial energy market - Africa’s 4th largest producer of crude oil and the world’s 6th largest producer of natural gas, with foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of USD 703.2 per capita.



President: Paul Biya
Age: 86
Time in power: 43 years
Key risks: Terrorism, War, Strikes, Riots, Violence and Civil Commotion
Recent events: Secessionist violence in anglophone regions – Jan, 2019
Political stability in Cameroon will continue to be undermined by unrest in the anglophone regions and uncertainty surrounding President Biya’s successor.

The business environment is poor due to security concerns, with FDI inflows of USD 269.1 per capita.

Equatorial Guinea


President: Teodoro Obiang Nguema
Age: 76
Time in power: 39 years
Key risks: Power struggle; Coup d’état; Contractual Agreement Repudiation
Recent events: Vice President has USD 16 million seized in Brazil – Sep, 2018
President Obiang intends to appoint his son and current vice president Teodorin Obiang as successor.

The risk of an internal coup d’état remains high. The small elite of wealthy business owners may turn on the regime if the global downturn in oil prices translates into a contraction in the economy.



President: Ali Bongo Ondimba
Age: 60
Time in power: 8 years
Key risks:  Coup d’état, Business Interruption
Recent events: Failed Coup d’état attempt – Jan, 2019
Gabon remains without an official head of state, as President Ali Bongo recuperates after having suffered a stroke in October 2018.

There is a significant risk of business interruption and uncertainty if a military government were to take over.

Foreign direct investment into Gabon remains strong at USD 4,685.8 per capita, driven by investment in oil, mining and timber sectors.



President: Beji Caid Essebi
Age: 92
Time in power: 5 years
Key risks: Strikes, Riots, Civil Commotion, Contractual Agreement Repudiation
Recent events: President Essebi extends nationwide State of Emergency – Jan, 2019
Political coalition unlikely to last until the 2019 election due to internal divisions and minor re-shuffles.

This will result in delays in policy implementation and constrain the fiscal space for foreign direct investment. FDI inflows are currently USD 2,409.9.



President Hun Sen
Age: 66
Time in power: 34 years
Key risks: Trade sanctions, Country Economic Risk
Recent events: EU begins process to sanction Cambodia – Feb, 2019
Cambodia became a one-party state in July 2018. There is no clear succession plan in place, although it is reported that Hun Sen may elevate his son, Hun Manet.

A power struggle or turn toward military rule would destabilise the business environment.



President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
Age: 65
Time in power: 15 years
Key risks: Currency Inconvertibility and Transfer Risk; Terrorism
Recent events: Turkish Lira collapses and reaches record low against USD – Aug, 2018
Erdoğan has consolidated executive authority at the expense of checks and balances, reducing transparency and making foreign policy unpredictable.

The recent Turkey-U.S standoff and associated collapse in the Turkish Lira are warning signs for investors.


USD 703.2 per capita

USD 269.1 per capita

Equatorial Guinea
USD 10,818.8 per capita

USD 4,685.5 per capita

USD 2,490.9 per capita

USD 1,299.2 per capita

USD 2,237.9 per capita

Source: Fitch Solutions 


Understand country risk and its potential impact on your business

Political risks, security threats and economic uncertainty mean that the global business environment has rarely felt more volatile. Entering new territories can expose your business to a range of political and security risks.

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