Time to step up! IRMSA launches the 2021 Risk Report



“As risk professionals, will you step up and be bold? Step up and be the voice of risk management!”

With these words, the Institute of Risk Management South Africa (IRMSA) CEO, Thabile Nyaba, launched the 2021 edition of IRMSA’s risk report. Focused on South Africa, the report breaks down the country’s opportunities and challenges in granular detail, promoting a view on holistic and broad-based solutions.

The report, available online at https://irmsa-risk-report.web.app/riskreport2021/, sets out a specific theme that many of us can appreciate. South Africa is running out of options to address its structural and endemic problems, and now is the time for pooling resources, cooperating and building a collective focus on tackling our biggest challenges.

Nyaba spoke about this during her opening speech at the launch, reaffirming what she also states in the report:

“South Africa faces a myriad of challenges such as low economic growth, poverty and unemployment to mention a few. Lessons learnt from the response to COVID-19 are a great opportunity to build solutions and assist our organisations and the country to move effectively into the future. My vision is to see a transformed South Africa that promotes growth, creates jobs, and empowers its citizens with resources to support social change.”

IRMSA’s new report takes a very scenario-based view of the country’s threats, rating various situations articulated by different experts. It also breaks down South Africa’s top risks – such as scarcity of visionary leadership, governance failures, entrenched corruption, consumer behaviour shifts, health system reforms, structural inequality, skills development and several more – weighing their progress against the different scenarios.

The report additionally contains essays from some of the country’s most significant risk and strategic thinkers, including national hero Mcebisi Jonas, Africa Bank CEO Basani Maluleke, FNB CEO Jacques Celliers, and Suresh Kana, Chairman of the King Committee.

Their views drive a central theme: it’s time to stand together, using risk management to chart a course for the country’s future. Though some report indicators are improving, the general state of matters has not shifted considerably in recent years.

Considering the pandemic’s tectonic impact on the economy, people’s behaviours, state resources, and business confidence, the time to step up is now. We can achieve results through a combined effort, new ideas and modernising risk practices. Risk managers should use their heightened profile to help drive strategy and cohesion.

“I think this is the most focused and assertive report from IRMSA yet, and the previous reports already didn’t beat around the bush,” says Sean Pyott, MD of thryve, a provider of digital risk management platforms. “During the launch, Thabile Nyaba spoke about not just having hindsight or insight, but foresight as well. The idea of risk management being proactive, sensing problems and feeding strategy, has finally come into its own, and the new IRMSA report underscores that new reality.”

You can read the 2021 Risk Report here. You can also learn how the report was approached in thryve’s interview with IRMSA’s Chief Risk Officer, Christopher Palm – What to expect from IRMSA’s 2021 Risk Report.