LONDON, May 15 (UPI) -- Forty-four percent of 200 countries and territories evaluated in a new assessment face the risk of terrorism and political violence this year, a study said.
The study conducted by Britain's Aon Risk Solutions, the risk management business of Aon Plc., and The Risk Advisory Group Plc. The findings of the assessment are highlighted on its 10th annual Terrorism and Political Violence Map, with an online and interactive version providing a global and country level view on the ratings.
"The global economic crisis, shifting geopolitical balances and two years of unusually high levels of civil upheaval present challenges and opportunities for businesses looking to expand," said Henry Wilkinson, head of the Intelligence and Analysis practice at Risk Advisory.
"North and West Africa and the Middle East stand out as regions of increasing risk. Civil wars in Libya and Syria in particular have contributed to violent risks in nearby countries. Egypt returns to the highest risk rating this year due to persistent civil tumult, political instability and terrorism.
"While Northern Europe has seen some improvements, evident in the U.K.'s improved rating, fiscal and economic pressures mean businesses in Southern European countries still face a higher level of risk associated with civil disruption," he said.
A total of 11 countries -- including Argentina, Egypt and Jordan -- have increased risk ratings this year, while 19 countries were downgraded in risk, including Germany, Italy and Britain.
Countries with the highest risk of terrorism and political violence are Afghanistan, India, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Somalia, Syria, Thailand and Yemen, the study said.
The Middle East is the most unstable region, with 64 percent of its countries attaining high or severe risk ratings.