How Do Threat Assessments Work?

In part one of this series, we identified road traffic as the biggest threat to employee safety for a company operating in Burkina Faso. How exactly does Navanti establish and measure the most pressing threats that organizations should address when starting, running, and closing a project?

Navanti analysts begin by looking at a pre-determined baseline of over 20 potential threats (also called incident types), ranging from the presence of unexploded landmines to natural disasters, in a given country. Using targeted research and structured interviews with informed respondents, analysts rank the likelihood of these threats from one to five, i.e., “low” to “extreme.”  

An incident type’s ranking can fluctuate within a country. Across Burkina Faso, terrorism and serious crime are ranked as less serious risks than road traffic, fire safety, and health. But in the north of the country, where neighboring Mali and Niger are assessed as extreme threats, terrorism and serious crime take priority over other incident types.

After ranking baseline threats, analysts summarize this data and assign a country a general threat level, which is used to guide a company’s overall response to a new environment. But the threat assessment is not a static document. Navanti periodically updates individual baseline threats, and the corresponding country threat rating, depending on the nature of the risks. While analysts might reevaluate the danger of earthquakes in India on a monthly basis, based on seismological data, they would monitor the dynamic, and ever-present risk of terrorism in Afghanistan daily. Threats don’t stand still, and neither should a company’s response to them.


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.