Americas: Argentina’s worker union announces general strike against Milei government in May

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; business disruptions

In Argentina, on 11 April the General Confederation of Labor (CGT) workers union announced a general strike against President Javier Milei’s government to take place on 9 May. The announcement came days after CGT met with officials due to Milei’s austerity measures – which include reducing subsidies, cutting over 15,000 public sector jobs and devaluing the peso by 54 per cent. The measures – aimed to rein in a deep deficit and high inflation – have hiked inflation and dampened economic activity, growth and production. The 9 May action – which would be the second general strike since Milei took office on 10 December 2023 after a CGT-organised nationwide strike on 24 January – will follow a planned 23 April student march and 1 May workers’ march. The strike will likely cause significant disruptions to transport and almost all services. Further strikes and protests will remain likely in the coming months.

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Asia Pacific: Solomon Islands to vote in delayed general election on 17 April

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; political violence; civil unrest

In the Solomon Islands, on 17 April voters will head to the polls in a delayed general election which will see Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare attempt to secure his second consecutive – fifth overall – term in office. While opposition parties have largely campaigned on issues around education, healthcare and the economy, the election has been dominated by China’s expanding influence domestically and in the broader South Pacific region. It will be the first election since Sogavare signed a controversial security pact with China in May 2022, which came six months after an outbreak of violent anti-government riots in the capital Honiara, prompted in part by Sogavare’s decision to switch the government’s diplomatic recognition from Taipei to Beijing in September 2019. Heightened risks of political instability, election-related violence and general civil unrest are likely leading up to and following the vote.

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Eurasia: Russian forces intensify attacks in Ukraine’s Donetsk Oblast

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war on land

In Ukraine, on 13 April Colonel General Oleksandr Syrsky, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, announced that the battlefield situation across the eastern front had deteriorated in recent days. He noted that Russian forces have continued their advances from Bakhmut through Khromove and Ivanivske towards the Ukrainian-held city of Chasiv Yar, Donetsk Oblast, in an attempt to break through Ukrainian lines in the area and create conditions for further advancements, including to the Ukrainian-held city of Kramatorsk. A spokesperson for forces fighting in the area added that Russia was attempting to exhaust the Ukrainian Army and enjoyed manpower and equipment superiority. Russian forces have also continued an offensive west of Avdiivka on the western outskirts of the city of Donetsk in recent days. Heavy fighting along the front is likely to continue in the coming weeks. Further Russian gains could significantly weigh on Ukrainian morale.

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Europe: Croatia to hold snap parliamentary election on 17 April

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; policy uncertainty

In Croatia, on 17 April voters will head to the polls to elect the country’s next parliament. The vote follows a fierce election campaign between the ruling Croatian Democratic Union (HDZ) of Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and the left-wing Social Democratic Party (SDP) informally led by President Zoran Milanovic. Polls indicate that HDZ will likely secure victory but could lose its majority. Milanovic attempted to formally run to become prime minister but on 18 March the Constitutional Court banned him from doing so. Nonetheless, Milanovic continued campaigning for SDP, claiming that he would resign as president and become prime minister should his party win. If that happens, Zagreb will likely see a policy shift, notably in the government’s position towards Ukraine and the EU, with Milanovic opposing further support for Kyiv similar to Slovakia’s Prime Minister Robert Fico.

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MENA: Israel to weigh response to Iranian retaliatory attack

Sectors: all
Key risks: regional escalation; war

In Iran, on 13 April Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) launched Operation True Promise in retaliation for the 1 April Israeli missile attack on the Iranian Embassy in Damascus, Syria. The operation involved hundreds of one-way drones and dozens of missiles launched from Iranian territory and aimed at Israel. Most of the Iranian drones were intercepted by Israeli and allied forces. However, Tel Aviv confirmed that two air bases in the Negev desert were hit by several missiles. While Tehran communicated that it considered the matter closed, the Israeli war cabinet was reportedly considering a response to the attack. However, US President Joe Biden warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Washington would not take part in any Israeli retaliatory action. While an immediate and unilateral Israeli response appears unlikely, a further escalation in the medium term cannot be ruled out.

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Sub-Saharan Africa:  Kenya proposes treaty to ease tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia

Sectors: all
Key risks: geopolitical tensions; regional escalation

In Kenya, on 11 April the government proposed a regional maritime treaty to defuse tensions between Ethiopia and Somalia. Diplomatic tensions between the two countries have escalated since 1 January when Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed signed an agreement with Muse Bihi Ahdi, the President of Somaliland – Somalia’s breakaway province – that would grant Addis Ababa access to the Red Sea at the Berbera port. On 4 April Mogadishu expelled Ethiopia’s Ambassador Mukhtar Mohamed and closed two Ethiopian consulates in Hargaisa and Garowe. Nairobi – in consultation with Djibouti and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) regional bloc – proposed the treaty which would govern how landlocked countries in the region can gain access to ports for commercial purposes. Nairobi’s intervention will partially ease tensions between Mogadishu and Addis Ababa. However, treaty negotiations will likely progress slowly in the coming months.

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