The Threat Assessment: A Critical, and Underutilized Tool to Maintain Duty of Care

How do companies operating in developing countries systematically identify and prioritize threats to their operations, in order to mitigate risk and maintain duty of care to employees?

The short answer is, most companies today forgo official security risk assessments. This oversight can lead to misguided security plans that address non-critical threats and ignore more pressing ones.

The management of a company starting a new project in Burkina Faso could reasonably assume, based on current events, that the biggest threat to employee safety is terrorism, and thus prioritize measures such as hiring office guards.

But a recent Navanti threat assessment found that the most critical risk to a company’s operations in Burkina Faso is road traffic. Roads are poorly maintained and lack streetlights, cars can lack headlights, and there is a high chance of motorists hitting stray livestock. The frequency of armed bandit attacks is increasing.

Therefore, sample security measures a company should adopt in Burkina Faso, before focusing on terrorism, include:

· Securing all-terrain vehicles with functioning headlights and seat belts, and outfitting them with spare tires, water, food, GPS, and satellite phones;

· Mandating road travel in convoys;

· Training drivers and employees in emergency first aid, because in the event of a crash only one passenger might be able to render assistance.

Navanti’s analysts produce threat assessments using a network of vetted on-the-ground researchers, combined with targeted open-source research. This approach enables Navanti to identify the real risks a company needs to address to keep its employees safe.


Navanti researches socio-economic and political risk trends using a combination of in-house subject matter experts and hyper-local atmospherics reporting from local researchers in predominantly high-conflict zones across Africa, the Middle East, and Eurasia.