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Who we are:

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Control Risks is one of the world’s leading business risk consultancies. We have helped some of the most successful organisations in the world understand and manage the risks and opportunities that come with operating in complex markets.

  • The depth and breadth of our services is unmatched within the industry.

  • Our people bring an extraordinary range of expertise and an uncompromising commitment to the clients we work for.

  • Our reputation is renowned in the industry. We are honest, objective and dedicated to protecting our clients’ best interests.

 

Control Risks in Africa

We have been operating in Africa for more than 30 years serving global companies that are new to Africa and organisations that know the continent well and are looking to expand their African business. We have supported commercial organisations and governments in a number of sectors including oil and gas, mining, construction and infrastructure, financial services, power, and FMCG.

Opportunity and risk – ease of doing business in Kenya

Kenya is the leading commercial, business and logistical hub for the East Africa region and offers a diverse range of investment and business opportunities. Strategically located with a relatively large skilled labour pool, natural resources, and an existing international investor base, Kenya has established itself as an attractive and exciting investment destination for global investors. British and other international companies have a long and established history in the country, and use Kenya as the regional hub for their East African activities.

Whilst Kenya offers much opportunity, there are some significant business and operational risks that require careful management and planning.

Corruption

Corruption continues to be an ongoing issue in Kenya, and the nexus between business and politics can be very hard to navigate. “Conducting corruption assessments, due diligence and detailed business intelligence into partners and stakeholders will help investors understand the operating environment and assist them in operating transparently and to international standards”, says Patrick Matu, Associate Director, based in Nairobi.

Political uncertainty

Kenya has a reputation for broad political stability and a commitment to democratic institutions, but periodic bouts of inter-communal violence and the politicisation of ethnic tensions continue to pose stability risks. With elections in 2017, close monitoring of the political situation will be important for investors both to ensure there is minimal disruption to their operations and to guarantee the safety and security of their staff. Devolution has also made the business environment more complex and investors now have to establish relationships with key stakeholders in the counties they run operations in, as well as determining the various county regulations and licences required. Mapping stakeholders at the local and national level will help investors build and maintain the right relationships in order to ensure successful operations.

According to Jean Devlin, Director, “investors need to understand the county risk environment in terms of the political dynamics and impacts on political and regulatory risks; the evolving nature of security threats to different asset types and the exposure to corruption and labour risks in supply chains”.

Crime & terrorism

Investor concern has been sparked by crime and growing levels of terrorism in recent years. Militant attacks by the extremist group al-Shabaab and its affiliates have particularly shaken investor confidence, despite their limited impact on commercial operations so far. Businesses will need to ensure they have accurate intelligence and crisis management plans in place to guarantee the safety and security of their staff.

Ian Clarke, Senior Consultant, in Nairobi, explains: “A threat-led approach is imperative, security systems should be designed against analysed threats resulting in legitimate risks to the project. The process should consider not only the threats posed today, but likely changes to the environment that could have an impact on the project from a regional, national and local focus in the future.”

Local community engagement challenges

Community expectations in regards to employment opportunities and compensation for their land utilised for development, if not managed well, can lead to community unrest which can manifest itself in blockades, labour disruption to the project and in extreme cases, violence against workers. Understanding community dynamics and carefully planning community engagement activities will help position businesses more securely for the long term and ensure they can have a sustainable license to operate in the face of ever changing community dynamics.

Simon Margrave, Associate Director, who is based in Nairobi advocates for a threat-led and risk-based approach to project management: “We recommend to our clients that they conduct a project risk assessment where these types of situations are examined and a strategy developed to address them at an early stage. This can be through a combination of stakeholder mapping, so clients fully understand the socio-economic dynamics and power structures in any given area, through to the development of community outreach programmes where employment issues and other grievances can be discussed and resolved in a manner that is satisfactory to all.”

Cyber crime

As one of Africa’s largest economies and East Africa’s tech hub, Kenya’s internet connectivity is growing fast. For Kenyan businesses, however, this rapid rate of growth does not come without associated risks.

According to Mr Matu, “Kenya is losing an estimated 2 billion Kenyan shilling to cybercrimes. Some of the key cyber risks in Kenya include: business interruption, failure for organisations to know who is targeting their information and assets, reputational damage in cases where organisations lack cyber crisis response planning; limited understanding of cyber at board level within a company where business leaders believe that cyber is a purely IT function. Organisations should thus carry out threat assessments and maturity assessments to ensure they are prepared in case of any cyber-related incidents”.

 

Examples of our work

Tailored contingency plans around Kenyan elections

In the run-up to the 2013 Kenya elections, an international company was concerned about the potential disruption that descent into violence in Kenya might cause to its operations in East Africa. Following in-depth, specific research directly relevant to the company, Control Risks developed a set of detailed scenarios, including potential trigger events, for how the elections were likely to unfold, with detailed country maps highlighting areas at risk of unrest. We also provided monthly updates to our client as the elections approached. With our help, the client was able to put in place contingency plans around vulnerable areas in the event that election violence impeded transit.

Enhanced due diligence

Our client, part of a consortium of funding partners, was considering investing in the development of a geothermal power project in Kenya. The client tasked Control Risks to conduct due diligence into the company developing the project, other local and international companies which would have an ownership interest in the project, and the company which owned the property where the geothermal facility would be built. Control Risks’ research and enquiries established that a number of the local investors in the project were high-profile Kenyan businessmen, each with varying degrees of connectedness to the Kenyan political establishment, extending in some cases to the presidency.

Control Risks found no evidence to suggest that the local investors in the project had improperly leveraged their political connections to make an inappropriate commercial gain.

Security design strategy for premium real estate project

Control Risks’ team of experienced security design consultants was appointed to support a high-rise executive development in Kenya. We carried out a detailed threat and risk assessment that helped inform the development of the security strategy and master plan. We then undertook the design and engineering of all electronic and physical security measures to deliver a tailored security solution that addressed the risks to the development in a cost effective way and timely manner.

 

Solutions include:

The breadth of solutions we offer, allows us to provide specialised consultancy tailored to meet your specific needs and concerns. A 24/7 information and control centre in Nairobi provides our clients with direct security support and assistance.

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