Political risk is rapidly increasing for countries in East Africa and the Middle East.
Pointing to growing unrest and political violence, global analytics firm Maplecroft paints a grim picture in its 2014 Political Risk Atlas. The sixth annual report evaluates 197 countries on a number of factors -- such as terrorism, conflict, regime stability and resource nationalism -- in order to categorize the nations on a risk scale from "low" to "extreme."
In all, the company classified 71 countries as having an "extreme" or "high" risk of social unrest and politically driven conflict. Since 2010, 10 percent of nations have seen significant increases in their political risk.
Certain countries on the top of the list, such as Somalia and Syria, may come as no surprise, given the ongoing conflicts there. Since the Arab Spring, Syria has rapidly climbed the list -- from 44th out of 197 countries in 2010, to second place in the latest atlas.
For the first time, Egypt joined the top 15, nearing the ranks of the 11 countries Maplecroft considers extremely at risk. In a statement, the firm attributed this new ranking to Egypt's "post-coup violence and increased terrorist activity in the Sinai Peninsula."
Given the current state of affairs in Syria, Libya and Egypt, Maplecroft expects the three countries will remain at an extreme or high level of political risk for the foreseeable future.
"This ‘vicious circle’ reflects the self-reinforcing impact of extremely poor governance, conflict, high levels of corruption, persistent regime instability and societal dissent and protest," the risk analytics firm said in a statement.
Despite significant increases of political risk in the Middle East and parts of Africa, the report said that some countries have made considerable gains. The Philippines (No. 35), India (No. 47), Uganda (No. 50) and Israel (No. 118) all saw decreases in their political risk level over the past three years. Meanwhile, the United States, United Kingdom and Scandinavian countries were all classified as having a low risk.
See the top 10 countries with the most "extreme" risk of social unrest and conflict, along with an overview map, in the gallery below.