Americas: Lula appoints Alckmin as running mate to widen support ahead of October elections in Brazil 

Sectors: all
Key Risks: business and economic risks; political stability

In Brazil, leftist former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva named former Sao Paulo governor Geraldo Alckmin as his running mate for the 2 October presidential elections amid shifting alliances. Centre-right Alckmin recently joined the leftist Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB). Lula is seeking to widen his support base to include more centrist and pro-business voters despite him and Alckmin being former political foes. Meanwhile, a Genial/Quaest survey on 7 April indicated that Lula continued to lead the presidential race with 45 per cent against right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro’s 31 per cent. While Lula remains the frontrunner, Bolsonaro has gained ground since former judge Sergio Moro recently dropped out of the race. The vote will most likely be a tight race between Lula and Bolsonaro as the chances of a strong centrist candidate emerging to challenge the duo seem increasingly low.

Asia Pacific: China’s Huawei halt all Russian orders and set to close office

Sectors: all; telecommunication
Key Risks: business risks

In China, reports emerged indicating that telecommunication giant Huawei was set to close its office in Russia due to increasing sanctions risks following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine. The threat of secondary sanctions has forced Beijing to undertake a cautious approach in managing the bilateral business and economic relations. The report came as Huawei suspended all orders from Russia where Huawei’s base stations account for about 35 per cent of Russia’s total installations. The suspension would likely lead to challenges, including maintenance and Moscow’s ability to source telecom components amid other sanctions imposed by key suppliers such as South Korea. Huawei’s decision is unlikely to have been triggered by a genuine will to comply with Western sanctions, but rather by existing tensions with US regulators that could further aggravate as a result of its business ties in Russia.

Eurasia: Austria’s chancellor Nehammer to meet Russian President Putin in Moscow

Sectors: all; oil and gas
Key risks: war on land

Austria’s chancellor Karl Nehammer is set to hold face-to-face talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on 11 April in Moscow. Nehammer will be the first European leader to meet with Putin in person in Moscow since the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February. Nehammer stated that he hoped the meeting would help to build bridges between Ukraine and Russia to stop ‘the war of aggression’. Austrian Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg later added that Nehammer made the decision after he met with Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky on 9 April. According to Schallenberg, Nehammer will plead for humanitarian corridors to ‘mitigate the humanitarian hell in Ukraine’. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated that the two may also discuss issues related to gas supplies. The meeting is unlikely to bring any significant breakthrough.

Europe: President Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen reach run-off vote in France

Sectors: all
Key Risks: policy uncertainty; political stability

In France, on 10 April President Emmanuel Macron secured the first place in the first round of the presidential election with around 27.6 per cent of the vote. He will face far-right Marine Le Pen in a run-off vote on 24 April. Le Pen, the leader of Rassemblent National or National Rally, secured 23.31 per cent of the vote while left-wing Jean-Luc Melenchon came in third with 22.2 per cent. With over a fifth of the vote, Melenchon voters could decide the final round, yet many are expected to abstain. Melenchon explicitly asked his supporters not to vote for Le Pen but refrained from backing Macron. Macron’s team plans to hold a series of big rallies and major TV appearances to bolster support ahead of the run-off vote. Polling data indicates that Macron remains the frontrunner.

MENA: Multiple Palestinian casualties in the West Bank by Israeli forces

Sectors: all
Key Risks: business & economic risks; political violence; civil unrest

In the West Bank, three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces in separate incidents. An unarmed woman was killed in Bethlehem after reportedly failing to stop walking towards a checkpoint. Another man was killed in Bethlehem by Israeli soldiers who alleged that he planned to throw a petrol-bomb. A third woman was killed in Hebron after slightly wounding a paramilitary police officer. Israeli forces also raided Jenin in the West Bank, injuring ten people and arresting at least 20 Palestinians. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet gave security forces ‘full freedom’ which will likely increase Palestinian casualties and arrests. Israel has been on high alert after a string of attacks led to the killing of 14 people between 22 March and 7 April. Tensions will likely remain heightened in the coming weeks and during the convergence of Ramadan, Easter and Passover.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Hundreds protest against migrants in South Africa amid rising xenophobia 

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; political violence; business risks

In South Africa, on 10 April hundreds of people marched in Durban in support of ‘Operation Dudula’ – an anti-migrant movement – to demand the government apply firmer security measures against the high number of undocumented migrants. Protesters chanted and sang anti-migrant slogans as they marched to the Point Police station and delivered a memorandum of their demands. ‘Operation Dudula’ – which means ‘drive back’ in Zulu – has instigated frequent protests across Johannesburg since the movement’s reemergence in late February. On 7 April a Zimbabwean national was killed by a mob in Diepsloot, an informal settlement in Johannesburg, after protests erupted against rising crime rates in the area which residents have blamed on illegal migrants. Small-scale anti-xenophobia protests have also been held in the city. Further civil unrest is likely. Protesters could seek to target migrants and migrant-owned businesses through looting and arson attacks.