Build better businesses and society with the Institute of Risk Management

Introduction to Risk Management

By Catherine Nyaga-Mbithi and Sospeter Thiga

In today's ever-evolving business landscape, the ability to navigate uncertainties and mitigate risks effectively is paramount for sustaining growth and ensuring long-term success.

As such, we are delighted to introduce you to the Institute of Risk Management (IRM) and its invaluable resources tailored to empower businesses of all sizes across diverse sectors in Africa. You do not have to be a risk manager to be aware of how risks can be both a threat and opportunity to your business.

Download our free risk management guides here: Sound Practice Guides (

At IRM, we understand that resilience is not just a buzzword but a critical necessity for businesses facing unprecedented challenges. Our East Africa Regional Group is dedicated to serving the unique needs of African businesses, offering tailored solutions and insights that resonate with the local context.

In the face of global challenges such as climate change, energy transition, sustainability concerns, and supply chain disruptions, the imperative for robust risk management strategies has never been clearer. As key stakeholders in driving Africa's economic landscape, your engagement with risk management practices holds the key to fortifying businesses and fostering societal resilience. You do not have to be a risk manager to be aware of how risks can be both a threat and an opportunity to your business.

Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) has broader applicability to anyone interested in business resilience, societal well-being, ethical leadership, sustainability, and policymaking.

Here are some key drivers:

Climate Change: A Global Imperative

Climate change stands as a formidable global risk, with varied contributing factors ranging from droughts to extreme heat waves. While political will to address these challenges exists, the effectiveness of mitigation efforts is hindered by a lack of requisite capacity and skills. Embracing new skill-sets and collaborating with global communities is essential to mitigate these risks effectively.

Energy Transition: The Path to Sustainability

The transition towards sustainable energy sources is imperative for long-term environmental and economic viability. However, the lack of buy-in and investment across sectors presents a significant obstacle. Risk Managers and Chief Risk Officers (CROs) must navigate this challenge, advising their organisations on the adverse consequences of inaction, which extend beyond economic repercussions to encompass broader societal impacts.

Sustainability (ESG Factors): A Critical Consideration

Prioritising and investing in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors are paramount for sustainable development. Failure to address these risks not only jeopardises the current generation, but also imperils the prospects of future generations. Revisiting and reinforcing commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals are essential in this regard.

Ethical and Adaptive Leadership: Catalysts for Change

The dearth of ethical and adaptive leadership poses a significant barrier to sustainable development. Transformational leadership, characterised by ethical consciousness, technological acumen, and societal inclusivity, is indispensable in navigating complex risk landscapes and fostering trust.

Supply Chain Risks: Mitigating Disruptions

Unforeseen disruptions in the supply chain, exacerbated by infrastructure challenges and intermittent power supply, pose significant threats to trade and economic stability. Addressing these risks requires proactive risk management measures to minimise the ripple effects on the economy and broader polycrisis risks.

Empower your business with risk management expertise

As business leaders, your engagement with IRM offers invaluable opportunities to enhance your risk management acumen. Through our comprehensive qualifications and training programmes, including internationally recognised accredited certifications, you can equip yourself and your teams with the skills needed to navigate today's complex risk landscape effectively.

Together, let us champion resilience, drive sustainable growth, and empower our communities for a brighter future.

Find out more:

About IRM

The Institute of Risk Management (IRM) is the leading professional body for Enterprise Risk Management (ERM). We provide globally recognised qualifications and training, publish thought leadership content, and run insightful events open to both our members and the wider public.

By these means, we help organisations and individuals build excellence in risk management and raise awareness of risk across society so that people protect value and take advantage of opportunities.


The writers are Joint Chairs of the IRM’s East Africa Group.