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Indigenous Peoples - Country Risk

Why Read: Because Country Risk is an increasingly big deal, and indigenous peoples generally are not dealt with today as they were in the past.

Featured Article: A July 2 article discusses a new report generated by London-based Minority Rights Group International ('MRG'). According to the article, that report says:

  • indigenous peoples "in every region of the world" face the risk of being "driven from their land and natural resources";

  • the land and resources are all "vital for their livelihoods, their culture and often their identity as a people";

  • indigenous people all "struggle to maintain their cultural integrity against their respective governments' desire to put national development first"; and,

  • the unprecedented demand for natural resources across Asia is "feeding ethnic conflict and displacement and is a severe threat to the lands, livelihoods and the way of life of minorities and indigenous people".

The article goes on to discuss displacement of indigenous peoples in various countries. Indigenous peoples are said to number about 370 million persons, being about 5% of the world's population, with about two/thirds of them residing in Asia. Indigenous persons are said to be "overrepresented among the poor, illiterate, malnourished and stunted".

Commentary: Going forward, companies - be they resource companies or not - are likely to have to focus increasingly on the circumstances and plight of indigenous peoples. This is now, and will in the future to an increasing degree, involve exhibiting in real ways:

  • respect for the religions and customs of those people;

  • dealing with what most often are differences in economic objectives;

  • facing time delays and incremental costs of doing business where indigenous peoples are involved; and,

  • perhaps in the end concluding that dealing with the indigenous peoples and their support groups isn't 'worth the candle' in the context of the resources (or other business interests) those companies wish to pursue.

This all goes directly to increasing Country Risk, a topic likely to get far more play in investment and trading circles than it has in the past.

Topical reference: Indigenous peoples threatened by resource exploitation, from Deutsche Welle, Ron Corben, July 2, 2012 - reading time 4 minutes, thinking time longer.


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