Americas: Risk of disruptive, violent unrest remains high in Peru despite five-day truce
Sectors: all; cargo transport, agriculture
Key Risks: business and economic risks; supply chain disruption; civil unrest
In Peru, the risk of disruptive, violent unrest will remain high over the coming days despite a five-day truce in place until 7 April, agreed by the heavy cargo truckers’ union GNTC following negotiations with government officials. Authorities confirmed that four people were killed, 15 police officers were injured and 22 people were arrested amid disruptive blockades, violent clashes, looting and associated unrest in Huancayo, Junin region on 2 April, marking the sixth day of a nationwide strike led by cargo truckers against fuel price hikes. The casualties were reportedly not caused by police intervention but resulted from accidents and unrest-related disruption. The strike and associated blockades have caused daily economic losses estimated at over US$400m, pressuring the government to cut some fuel and food taxes to appease protesters. Further cargo and supply chain disruption is expected particularly should ongoing dialogue efforts fail.
Asia Pacific: Hong Kong’s Carrie Lam set to step down as CE; Cabinet resigns in Sri Lanka
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest
In Hong Kong, SAR, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that she will not seek re-election for the city’s top post following a calamitous tenure that saw months of civil unrest and mass protests in 2019. Lam sought to force through the controversial law that would allow extradition to China despite overwhelming opposition from the public and pro-democracy activists and politicians. The announcement would pave the way for Chief Secretary John Lee to be appointed by the pro-Beijing Election Committee as the likely successor. The election is set to take place on 2 May. Elsewhere, in Sri Lanka, the entire Cabinet of President Gotabaya Rajapaska resigned amid the country’s worsening economic crisis. The mass resignation came only a day after a state of emergency was declared following violent protests in Colombo. There is a heightened risk of escalating unrest in the country.
Eurasia: EU to impose fresh sanctions over Russian atrocities near Kyiv
Sectors: oil and gas
Key risks: sanctions; supply chain disruptions; economic and business risks
On 4 April the EU announced it was preparing to impose a fifth round of sanctions on Moscow in response to reports which strongly suggest that Russian troops have committed war crimes in the northwestern outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine. On 3 April senior politicians in both Berlin and Rome for the first time reportedly signalled openness to the idea of imposing an energy embargo. A ban on imports of Russian coal is also reportedly being considered, which would have a less severe impact on European economies than a ban on all Russian hydrocarbon imports. The package is highly likely to include tightening loopholes on existing sanctions as well as adding new restrictions on Moscow. An energy embargo remains highly uncertain, particularly following the re-election of Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orban who had previously stressed that he would block any attempt to halt deliveries of Russian gas to Europe.
Europe: France’s presidential election begins with first round vote on 10 April
Key Risks: policy uncertainty; political stability
In France, voters will determine whether President Emmanuel Macron deserves a second term in the Elysee over two rounds of voting beginning with the first round on 10 April. The prospects of Macron’s rivals – including Marie Le Pen, Jean-Luc Melenchon, Valerie Pecresse and Eric Zemmour – have oscillated significantly in opinion polls in the months leading up to the election. The latest polls – even if these should be read with caution – indicate that Marie Le Pen of the far-right Rassemblement National (National Rally) is most likely to challenge Macron in the second and final round. The election takes place against a backdrop of falling unemployment and a strong economic rebound from the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021. Combined with his high profile, albeit so far unsuccessful, efforts to bring about a diplomatic solution to the war in Ukraine, Macron has a strong chance of securing re-election.
MENA: Saudi-led coalition and Yemen’s Huthi militia agree two-month truce
Sectors: all; energy
Key Risks: business & economic risks; political violence; cross-border attacks
In Yemen, on 1 April the Saudi-led coalition and the Iran-backed Huthi militia agreed to a UN-sponsored two-month truce over the month of Ramadan. UN special envoy Hans Grundberg announced the deal from Riyadh during the peace talks which the Huthis did not attend. The truce came into effect at 19:00 local time on 1 April and has the potential to be renewed if both sides agree. The warring sides agreed to seize all air, ground and maritime offensive operations in return for lifting the blockade imposed on Huthi-controlled Sana’a airport and Hudaidah seaport, which was the Huthi’s main demand. Commercial flights into Sana’a airport will commence from Cairo and Oman only, and fuel ships will be allowed passage into Hudaidah port. Although the deal is a good starting point, a comprehensive peace agreement is still difficult in the current climate.
Sub-Saharan Africa: South Sudanese President Kiir and VP Machar agreed to unify armed forces
Key Risks: political violence; war on land; business risks
In South Sudan, President Salva Kiir and rival Vice President (VP) Riek Machar agreed on the creation of a unified armed forces – a key sticking point that has largely prevented the implementation of the 2018 peace agreement. The agreement provides for a division of 60 per cent of the president’s camp and 40 per cent of Machar’s camp for leadership positions in the army, police and security forces. The deal came after violent clashes erupted between rival security forces in Longechuk County, Upper Nile state on 24 March. Forces loyal to VP Machar, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army in Opposition, reportedly attacked security forces from the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, which serve the president. The renewed clashes sparked concerns that the country was on the brink of returning to civil war. The breakthrough agreement will likely de-escalate recent rising tensions.