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Quick Takes

The Internet Is Least Accessible in These 10 Countries

Source: The Economist Intelligence Unit

Key dots: white — overall ranking; green — availability; pink — affordability; purple — relevance; and yellow — readiness

Countries in Africa claim the bottom 10 spots in a ranking on internet availability. This is due to a mix of issues including cost and lack of infrastructure, as is seen in the Inclusive Internet Index, a project between Facebook and The Economist Intelligence Unit, which covers 91% of the world’s population.

For Liberia, where connection is most difficult, access to electricity is one of the root issues. It is also where internet service is the most expensive relative to per capita national income — and, the report says, where “mobile data prices are also among the highest.”

But there has been progress: Broadband connections across Africa passed 400 million in 2018, a twentyfold increase from eight years prior, a report from the World Bank notes. 

The report also highlights initiatives to double internet connectivity across the continent by 2021, compared to 2016, and “to achieve universal affordable and good quality broadband access in Africa by 2030.”

More Than Half of the US Is Now a Millennial or Younger

Source: Brookings Institute

More than half — 50.7% — of the United States’s total population is now made up of the millennial and younger generations. 

Census data also shows that this age group is America’s most racially diverse generation in history — an estimated four of 10 Americans identify with a race or ethnic group other than white. As these generations continue to move into leadership roles in society, they have a growing impact on organizational and corporate culture, along with U.S. politics as voters and policymakers. 

These generations have been particularly vocal about environmentalism and social justice issues, especially the Black Lives Matter movement, and the topics are already factoring strongly into new corporate and political initiatives. A testament of the impact of these generations and their values will be seen in the extent to which climate and racial justice issues are likely to shape this year’s U.S. election conversation.

Public Trust in US Corporations Increased During the COVID-19 Crisis

Source: Harris Poll COVID19 Tracker Wave 20; Chart: Axios Visuals

The American public has been responding favorably toward corporations since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. According to a new Axios/Harris poll, 75% of respondents believe that companies were more reliable than the federal government during the lockdown. 

The health and grocery industries saw the highest approval rating among consumers — at 47% and 35% respectively — while both the media (-5%) and airlines (-7%) industries scored the lowest. Respondents rated the top 100 companies across seven qualities: affinity and trust, citizenship, ethics, culture, vision, growth and products and services. The poll weighted affinity as the highest compared to all other categories. 

Companies that focused on using their resources and platform to solve problems related to COVID-19, like pharmacies, streaming services and packaged goods, gained the most trust from consumers. The results also showed that consumers have higher trust in companies that address societal issues. In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, this will most likely be a long-term trend beyond the pandemic.

COVID-19 Testing in the US Compared to Other Countries

Source: John Hopkins University of Medicine

Despite conducting the second-highest percentage of daily tests, the United States still has the highest number of COVID-19 cases of any country in the world. The size of the circles in the graph above display how large the epidemic is in each location — ideally countries should have small circles and a low percentage of positive tests. 

Research by Johns Hopkins recently found that the amount of COVID-19 testing needs to be based on the size of a country’s epidemic rather than the size of its population. Johns Hopkins recommended that governments should look at the country’s COVID-19 positivity rate to determine if they are testing enough. A poll conducted at the end of July by NPR/Ipsos shows that the majority of the American public believes that the U.S. is handling the crisis worse than any other country and want the federal government to take extreme actions to slow the spread. Testing will continue to ramp up as the U.S. debates whether to open schools and lift further restrictions.

Where Are Businesses Closing in the US?

Source: Yelp

The number of total business closures in the United States dropped in July 2020 — but the figure remains high, with more than 132,500 closures so far this year. Of that amount, 15,742 businesses permanently closed since mid-June. Data from Yelp shows that the restaurant industry had the highest number of closures in July, surpassing the retail industry. 

Most of these closures are occurring in large cities — Los Angeles and New York City had the largest amounts of business closures. Similarly, large U.S. states such as California (29,351 closed businesses), Texas (11,118 closed businesses) and New York (8,731 closed businesses) all experienced a large number of closures since the start of the pandemic. Many of these cities and states have been major hot spots during the pandemic.

As businesses start to reopen, and consumers test their comfort levels, recreational activity is expected to grow and help bounce back struggling industries. However, cases continue to rise in certain parts of the U.S., causing consumer interest and business closures to continue to move at an unpredictable pace.

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