Kenya has been ranked 59th out of 140 countries globally in readiness to prepare for and respond to major disruptions such as climate change, technology and geopolitics, a report by KPMG audit firm reveals.
The 2019 KPMG Change Readiness Index (CRI) that measured how governments, enterprises, people and civil societies adapt to these unavoidable changes, places Kenya first in the East African Community (EAC) and second in the continent, after Mariutius which is ranked 34th globally.
Trailing Kenya in EAC is Rwanda (placed 70th globally), followed by Uganda (99th), Tanzania (100th), Burundi (128th) and South Sudan (139th).
"Kenya improved her ranking by moving eight places up to position 59 compared to position 67 attained last year. Rwanda slipped to position 70 compared to position 46 last year, and Uganda recorded the biggest drop in the region to rank at position 99 compared to position 66 attained during last year's index," analyses the report, now in its fourth year of biannual publication.
Kenya is ranked 63rd out of 140 countries globally in the ability of its private and public organisations and companies to adapt to major changes and grow within a dynamic economic environment. This is its best placing in the three key pillars of capabilities.
The country is in position 68 in the government pillar to manage and inﬂuence change and 64 in people and civil society readiness to cope with change and respond to opportunities.
Somalia is ranked the last overall at position 140, tailing with South Sudan, Chad, Sudan and Libya.
Ironically, Africa's big economies are also lagging behind in adopting change, notably South Africa which is ranked 96th, Nigeria (127th) and Libya (135th).
Rwanda is the only African country hailed for punching above its weight - ranked the fourth in the world for planning and adopting change beyond expectation at 13 per cent, beating New Zealand and United Kingdom.
The top performer in this category is Switzerland at 16 per cent.
RESPONSE TO CLIMATE RISKS
On the flipside, those punching below their weight are all African countries, except Argentina and Iran. Those with negative performance indices in percentage are Libya (-25), Angola (-15), Algeria (-12) and Sudan (-11).
Those susceptible to climate risks and least resilient are mostly low income and lower middle income countries.
Among developed economies, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong (SAR) are outliers owing to greater climate risk factors but also demonstrate a higher degree of change readiness.
While it may not be surprising that the public sector is rated better in addressing climate change in high income economies, the fact that civil society receives better marks in low income economies as an advocate for climate change draws an interesting distinction.
The report sounded an alarm that the annual cost of adapting to climate change in developing countries could rise to between Sh25.96 trillion and Sh51.93 trillion by 2050, which is four to five times greater than previous United Nations Environment Programme estimates of 2016.
It recommends that in order to be climate-ready, societies must be able to address both sudden onset events -- like natural disasters -- and build resilience against long-term structural changes, like rising sea levels and temperatures.
The report emphasises that effective responses must be founded on collaboration and co-ordination among a variety of actors -- both nationally and globally.
It also highlights the capabilities needed to mitigate and adapt to climate risks, speed up innovation in sustainable energy and energy efﬁciency and enable more effective roles for governments and civil society.
"Those that fail to recognise the impact of climate change as the 'new normal' and do not adapt accordingly are likely to be unprepared for its growing costs," said Mr Achim Steiner, administrator at UNDP.
Mr Richard Threlfall, global head of infrastructure KPMG International, said governments are starting to encourage operations that are climate-smart, including infrastructure and strategic planning.