International Awareness

When companies consider issues like business continuity, the emphasis is often on environments like that in North America or Europe, with all the assumptions inherent to that. Writing for African Law and Business, James Spencer, a business continuity consultant formerly of the African Development Bank, offers some items to consider for individuals and companies operating outside of the regions. Focusing on business continuity in Africa, Spencer speaks of such topics as:

  • Utility outages – water, electricity, gas, and phone service are all often exposed to regular outages, although tools are available to assist in tracking of such events.
  • Extreme weather – storms, floods, and earthquakes are all potential threats but “the second order effects are often more widely felt than in more developed countries (and tend to last longer), due to often limited institutional ability to react and to address the problem,” says Spencer.
  • Lack of staff – with skilled labor in demand, staff may quickly move between roles and companies, leaving an organization without necessary internal support.
  • Political instability – whether interruption of travel, information, or security, political instability can have huge impacts on an organization’s ability to function.

While the frequency of disruption may be greater, the level of readiness is often higher, as people become used to interruptions and working out solutions to the most common issues, says Spencer.