change | October 25, 2017

Which countries are ready for the next global shock?

The team at


Some poor countries are surprisingly resilient, and some rich countries may be vulnerable to sudden change.

KPMG’s Change Readiness Index (CRI), seeks to measure how effectively governments, private and public enterprises and civil society are likely to respond to financial shocks, social instability, and natural disasters — and how well they can take advantage of opportunities that come with these changes.

Of the 136 countries in the KPMG index, the highest ranked are, unsurprisingly, high-income countries with relatively small populations: Switzerland is №1, Sweden ranked second and the United Arab Emirates came in third.

At the bottom are countries with lower incomes or that are embroiled in social and economic turmoil: Venezuela (№119), Syria (№135) and Somalia (№136). But wealth isn’t enough.

Oil-rich nations tend to underperform relative to their GDP, and in fact, abundant natural resources tends to lower a country’s score, not raise it — eight of the top 10 are not natural resource-rich countries. (Take a deeper dive into the data with the 2017 Change Readiness Index Tool.)

What’s more, some low-income countries such as Liberia, Uganda and Rwanda “punch above their weight,” or perform better than their GDP might suggest.

Rwanda (№46) is especially remarkable given the country’s genocidal civil war in the 1990s. The report credits Rwanda for strong government action in security, fiscal and regulatory areas and for enterprise sustainability.

The report makes the case that alliances — between emerging nations and impact investors, for instance — are needed to tackle the biggest problems facing humanity over the next decades.