Americas: Disruption expected during 12-hour general strike on 24 January in Argentina

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; business interruption; economic

In Argentina, on 24 January a general strike – called by the powerful General Confederation of Labour (CGT) on 28 December 2023 – is set to take place to protest far-right President Javier Milei’s 20 December 2023 decree. The latter implements extensive deregulation and austerity measures aimed at reviving the ailing economy. On 3 January the National Chamber of Labour Appeals suspended a package of labour reforms included in the decree after the CGT filed an injunction. The strike is set to last from noon until midnight local time and will include a march to Congress in the capital Buenos Aires. The strike will likely cause significant disruption to transport and almost all services. Thousands participated in protests called by the CGT and other unions in Buenos Aires on 27 December. Further strikes and disruptive anti-government protests will remain highly likely in the coming months.

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Asia Pacific: Prime Minister James Marape reshuffles cabinet after unrest in Papua New Guinea

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; business risks; civil unrest; vandalism; looting

In Papua New Guinea, on 18 January Prime Minister James Marape announced a cabinet reshuffle in an attempt to consolidate government parties and restore public trust following the 10 January outbreak of violent unrest, riots and looting in the capital Port Moresby which killed at least 22 people nationwide. The unrest was triggered by a payroll error which deducted the pay of public servants, including police and military personnel. The reshuffle saw Treasurer Ian Ling-Stuckey demoted and Marape assuming the role concurrently. It also returned Justin Tkatchenko as foreign minister and introduced a new minister exclusively focused on the police. The reshuffle is unlikely to significantly improve security conditions in the capital – which remains fragile amid a state of emergency in effect until 25 January – as continued institutional challenges to law enforcement will likely sustain heightened risks of civil unrest.

Click here to access Papua New Guinea’s Global Intake country profile.

Eurasia: Operations at Russia’s LNG terminal in Ust-Luga suspended after alleged attack by Kyiv

Sectors: all; energy; oil and gas
Key Risks: war-on-land; energy supply disruptions; fuel price volatility

In Russia, on 21 January local energy firm Novatek suspended operations at its LNG and gas condensate products terminal in Ust-Luga, Leningrad Oblast, following two explosions. Ukraine did not formally claim responsibility for the blasts. However, its Security Service (SBU) claimed that Ukrainian drones had struck the facility overnight. On 18 January Kyiv claimed responsibility for another strike on the nearby St. Petersburg Oil Terminal. The attacks followed the end of Europe’s major winter gas buying period, likely mitigating its immediate market impact. The string of attacks on Moscow’s energy infrastructure marks another escalation in the two sides’ drone warfare campaigns amid an intensifying Russian bombardment of Ukrainian cities. The extent of damage or how long the facility will be offline remained unclear. Further such Ukrainian strikes against Russian energy export facilities are likely and would be a major new pressure point for Kyiv.

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Europe: EU to propose additional safeguards to prevent market flooding by Ukraine’s grain

Sectors: agriculture
Key Risks: business and economic risks

 On 22 January reports emerged indicating that in the coming week, the European Commission would propose additional safeguards for countries neighbouring Ukraine to limit the potential negative effects of Kyiv’s grain exports. According to EU Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovski, the Commission is set to propose “country-specific safeguards” allowing Brussels to block imports if a particular country’s market were to be flooded by Ukraine’s grain. The proposal – which would have to be approved by the European Parliament – would be part of a temporary trade liberalisation agreement with Ukraine that is set to be extended in May for one year starting in June. The agreement first came into effect in June 2022 as part of Brussels’s efforts to support Kyiv’s exports following Russia’s invasion. Since then, it has triggered a backlash from farmers in countries neighbouring Ukraine. The proposal has the potential to diffuse tensions over Ukraine’s grain exports.

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MENA: Thousands in Israel call for new truce deal with Hamas and for war in Gaza to end

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest

 In Israel, on 20 January thousands of demonstrators gathered in the cities of Tel Aviv, Caesarea and Jerusalem demanding the release of the 132 captives held in Gaza in exchange for an end to the ongoing Israel-Gaza war. The protesters called for a permanent ceasefire – a condition which Hamas deemed as a prerequisite to any new potential truce deal – following high civilian discontent over the outcome of Israel Defense Forces (IDF)’s military operations in Gaza – which have been unable to secure the release of the captives. Protesters also called for fresh elections and for the resignation of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu whom many blame for failing to stop the 7 October 2023 attack. Recent opinion polls predict that far-right, right-winged and Haredi parties would be unable to achieve a parliamentary majority if elections were held again. Further similar protests are likely.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Mediating peace between SAF and RSF in Sudan remains elusive

Sectors: all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest; war on land

In Sudan, on 20 January the government formally announced the suspension of its membership in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). The suspension allegedly came after IGAD – an East African regional body – defied Khartoum’s request to refrain from interfering in its internal affairs. On 18 January IGAD hosted an extraordinary summit in Entebbe, Uganda, to discuss the country’s ongoing conflict and invited Rapid Support Forces (RSF) leader Mohamed Hamdan Dagalo. Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) leader Abdel Fattah al-Burhan boycotted the event. Al-Burhan insists that he will not meet with Dagalo until the RSF withdraws its forces from Khartoum and other cities. Previous efforts by Washington and Riyadh to mediate the conflict have also failed. Khartoum’s suspension of its IGAD membership will significantly undermine efforts to mediate peace talks between the SAF and the RSF.

Click here to access Sudan’s Global Intake country profile.