The unfolding Russia-Ukraine crisis isn't a systemic risk, one analyst told CNBC, warning that political tensions across the Middle East and Africa (MENA) deserve greater attention.
"The Middle East and Africa, no question about it, is a greater systemic risk. Flare-ups in Nigeria, Syria, Iraq, potentially Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait are far more significant than Russia and Ukraine," said Viktor Shvets, head of Asia strategy research at Macquarie.
It's not just the rapidly-expanding militants of the Islamic State (IS) in northern Iraq and Syria that are spooking the MENA region. Libya also faces its own jihadists after Islamist group Dawn of Libya took power in Tripoli last month. Meanwhile, Nigeria's Boko Haram recently seized the town of Baram in the northeast it attempts to create an Islamic state.
News versus risks
"What is important [for investors] is to decide what is news and what is systemic. The way I look at Russia-Ukraine, it is news," said Shvets, noting the key to assessing systemic risks is whether players are rational or not.
"The Russia-Ukraine [crisis] is not systemic. Russia as a government might not necessarily agree with everybody but it is rational," he said, highlighting the fact that Russia has been a nation for 1,000 years. On the other hand, the Middle East is facing a vacuum of power, he stated, describing the region as a tribal society that lacks defined, state-based leadership.
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