Rich people see political risk as a significant threat to assets in SA, Nigeria, Kenya

By Roxanne Henderson

(Bloomberg) — Wealthy individuals in five African nations including South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya see political instability as a significant threat to the preservation of their assets, according to a report commissioned by Standard Bank Group Ltd.

Researchers from Johannesburg-based Intellidex surveyed 265 individuals in various industries across these countries to compile the report. It found that Africans were most concerned about political risk, with 82% of South African respondents citing it as significant. That compares with 67% in Ghana, 64% in Nigeria and 55% in Kenya. Only 31% of Mauritian respondents saw the political environment as a threat.

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The role political stability plays in deepening economic and social progress is beyond debate, Standard Bank economist Simon Freemantle said in the report.

“The absence of political calm –- a reality which still besets many African economies — has the ability to fundamentally constrain economic growth and institutional reform, deter investment, and compound already pressing welfare and humanitarian challenges,” he said.

About 67% of respondents had an estimated net worth of $1 million to $5 million, with the rest estimated to have wealth exceeding $5 million.

Other findings from the report:

  • Personal safety and security was another common concern for wealthy Africans; most respondents placed it at first or second on their list of concerns. South Africans placed it only fourth and are more concerned about stock market volatility and taxes.
  • The main vehicle for consolidating and preserving wealth is property, with the exception of South Africa where investments in equities took the lead.
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