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A period of significant and sometimes unexpected political change is spreading economic uncertainty, presenting businesses with new challenges and opportunities in an increasingly disrupted world.
The 2016 US Presidential election and the UK Brexit vote have been widely interpreted as a sign of discontent with the status quo and concern with the impact of globalization. With further pivotal elections planned for 2017, including Germany, France and Kenya, the outlook remains uncertain.
These political changes have been associated with a period of market instability and fears of rising protectionism, applying additional shocks to a global economy already challenged by volatile commodity prices and slowing growth in emerging markets.
In our survey, 63% of respondents from emerging markets told us they are experiencing economic growth which is slower than expected in their country, rising as high as 90% in Oman, 85% in Ukraine and 84% in Nigeria.
Against this backdrop, the challenges facing businesses continue to mount – these include the incredible pace of technological change, shifts in consumer demands and values, the changing makeup and structure of the workforce and the constant pressure of ambitious revenue targets.
Given these significant political and economic changes, it’s not surprising that while overall perceptions of bribery and corruption remain relatively stable, we are starting to see a shift in these perceptions at a country level. Some emerging markets, particularly countries within the former Soviet Union, have recorded a marked improvement in perceptions since 2013.
In Poland, for example, the proportion of respondents perceiving corruption as widespread has dropped from 59% to 38%, with perceptions now on par with Western European nations such as Belgium.