Americas: Anti-government protesters to continue to target Peru’s mining sector

Sectors: mining
Key Risks: civil unrest; business interruption; political violence; political stability

In Peru, on 19 January President Dina Boluarte’s government expanded the state of emergency already effective in the capital Lima and in Puno and Cusco regions to Amazonas, La Libertad and Tacna regions for 30 days amid ongoing unrest sparked by former president Pedro Castillo’s ouster and arrest on 7 December. Protesters have increasingly targeted strategic infrastructure, particularly in the mining sector which experienced losses valued at PEN609m (US$160.1m) in just one week in December. On 21 January Glencore suspended operations at its Antapaccay mine in Cusco region after anti-government protesters attacked the mine for the third time since protests resumed on 4 January. Nearby China’s MMG’s Las Bambas copper mine temporarily halted operations in response to the violence. Further unrest and related disruption leading to business interruption in the mining sector should be expected.

Asia Pacific: Militants attempt to prevent Myanmar’s sham election

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political stability; civil war

In Myanmar, on 19 and 20 January six military-run election offices in Yangon, Sagaing and Magwe regions were attacked and torched by resistance forces in a bid to prevent a ‘sham election’ by the military government from taking place. Election commission and immigration offices in Tamu and Myinmu townships, Sagaing region, and across Yangon were destroyed along with documents such as census forms collected by military personnel in recent months. The military government controls an estimated mere 22 per cent of the country’s 330 townships, around 17 per cent of the country’s total land territory. Military leader Min Aung Hlaing plans to hold elections by August to legitimise his illegal rule, two years after he seized power following a February 2021 coup. However, the vote is expected to worsen and prolong the country’s deadly conflict and economic turmoil.

Eurasia: Uzbekistan’s energy crisis raises risk of civil unrest 

Sectors: energy, oil and gas
Key risks: civil unrest, business and economic risks 

In Uzbekistan, on 18 January dozens of residents reportedly stormed local energy facilities in the capital Tashkent and other towns in the Tashkent region due to electricity shortages. On 16 January a video emerged on social media showing a woman putting a knife to an electrician’s throat and demanding to restore energy supplies in Chirchik, Tashkent region. The incidents came amid the coldest winter in 15 years and highlighted the severity of the associated energy crisis. Low temperatures resulted in significant energy shortages as the country’s outdated energy system has been unable to cope with such extreme weather conditions. Tashkent has been particularly affected. On 16 January President Shavkat Mirzoiyoyev dismissed Tashkent’s Mayor Jahongir Artikhodjayev, claiming that 128 of the capital’s 584 neighbourhoods had suffered power and gas cuts. Should the situation continue deteriorating, further localised protests are likely.

Europe: Pressure mounts on Germany to approve Leopard tank shipments to Ukraine

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war on land

In Germany, on 22 January Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stated that Berlin would not block Poland’s shipment of its Leopard tanks to Ukraine, adding that Warsaw had not yet applied for Berlin’s permission to do this. Berlin maintains control over the re-export of its tanks. On 23 January Poland’s Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki stated that Warsaw would apply for this permit but would send its tanks to Ukraine even if Berlin refused to approve the move. His statement came as Berlin faces growing pressure from its allies to approve the shipments to Kyiv, which Berlin has so far resisted out of fear of an escalation. It remains unclear whether Baerbock’s comments mark a change in the government’s position. Should the shipments be approved, the Leopard tanks would boost Kyiv’s military capabilities ahead of a potential Russian counter-offensive in spring.

MENA: Netanyahu’s judicial reform sparks large demonstrations in Tel Aviv

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; political violence

In Israel, on 22 January over 100,000 people demonstrated in Tel Aviv for the second consecutive week  against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial plan to reform the Supreme Court – the country’s highest judicial body – in a bid to restrict its powers. Under the proposed plan, the Knesset could overturn the Court’s decisions with an absolute majority and would have increased control over the nomination of judges. Netanyahu’s religious nationalist coalition partners have long opposed the Court’s decisions on minority rights and the separation of religious and state affairs. Opponents of the reform argue that the executive is attempting to subvert democratic institutions and undermine the current system of check and balances. Further similar demonstrations are likely as the government is expected to push forward with the reform despite significant public opposition.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Foreign troops continue slow withdrawal from Ethiopia

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war on land

In Ethiopia, on 20 January Eritrean troops began withdrawing from several towns they had previously occupied, including Shire and Adwa in the Tigray region where they fought alongside federal and Amhara forces against the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). It remains to be seen if Eritrean forces plan to  conduct a complete withdrawal from the region as dozens of soldiers remain in Shire and Adwa. The withdrawal of foreign troops is a key condition of the 2 November peace agreement between the federal government and the TPLF. The latest development came after sustained diplomatic pressure from the US and the EU, with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken indicating that the withdrawal of Eritrean forces represented “significant progress” towards lasting peace. Amhara forces are similarly withdrawing from towns they occupy and are likely to complete their full withdrawal within the coming weeks.