EY: COVID-19 headwinds heighten challenges for emerging markets

As organisations transition from managing the COVID-19 crisis toward building economic resilience, many are struggling to maintain integrity standards, according to the latest EY Global Integrity Report, which surveyed more than 1,700 respondents from 21 emerging markets including Nigeria.


Commenting on the findings, Linus Osita Okeke, Forensic & Integrity Services Leader for EY in West Africa, said: ”The report reveals that 63% of respondents believe businesses operating in emerging markets are more likely to be adversely impacted by the current COVID-19 disruption.”


“Thirty two percent of respondents in emerging markets believe that bribery and corrupt practices present the greatest risk to the long-term success of their businesses, compared to 42 per cent for Nigeria, 35 per cent for South Africa and 38 per cent for Kenya, the African respondents.


“Thirty per cent of respondents believe that the risk of a cyber and ransomware attack is a significant threat, com  pared to 40 per cent for Nigeria, 37 per cent for South Africa and 56 per cent for Kenya.”

Sharon van Rooyen, EY Africa Forensic & Integrity Services Leader noted that: “Interestingly, all three African countries surveyed say that standards of integrity in their organisation have generally improved in the last two  years,”


According to the report, Kenya and South Africa raising the alarm about misconduct is still a significant issue in comparison to other emerging markets surveyed.


It noted that worryingly, in Nigeria, 29 per cent of respondents were uneasy to report such concerns due to fear of the impact of their future careers compared with 45 per cent in Kenya and 33 per cent in South Africa.


“Whistleblowing programs form a key pillar of the organisation’s corporate governance framework and management and board oversight will be crucial for its success,” the report said.


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