Americas: Thousands protest President Petro’s proposed reforms in Colombia

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest; business disruption; political instability

In Colombia, on 21 April, around 70,000 citizens protested President Gustavo Petro’s proposed economic and social reforms in the capital Bogota; Medellin, Antioquia department; and Cali, Valle del Cauca department. This came after on 3 April a senate committee rejected the government’s proposed health reform – including stripping power from insurers, expanding access to health care and creating a government agency to centralise payments and primary care centres. The government will be able to propose a new version of the health reform bill in the July legislative session. On 2 April the government took control of two major health insurers – Sanitas and Nueva EPS – prompting opposition backlash. Petro is facing dwindling public and legislative support and has called for massive pro-government protests on 1 May. Political instability risks will remain heightened. Further similar protests and clashes between opposing groups cannot be ruled out.

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Asia Pacific: Indonesia’s Constitutional Court upholds President-elect Prabowo’s election win

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

In Indonesia, on 22 April the Constitutional Court rejected in full two petitions by losing candidates challenging the results of the 14 February presidential election, citing a lack of legal grounds and convincing evidence. The petitions requested an annulment of the results, for the vote to be re-run and the disqualification of Vice President-elect Gibran Rakabuming Raka – the eldest son of outgoing President Joko Widodo – over ethical violations surrounding his nomination as well as allegations of electoral fraud, misuse of state resources and meddling by Widodo’s government to favour the winning pair. The ruling effectively upheld President-elect Prabowo Subianto’s landslide victory, which was officially confirmed on 20 March. The ruling will guarantee political certainty ahead of the presidential inauguration in October and while sporadic protests are expected, they are unlikely to persist in light of assurances by the losing candidates to respect the verdict.

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Eurasia: US House of Representatives finally approves US$60.8bln military aid for Ukraine

Sectors: all
Key Risks: war on land

In the US, on 21 April the House of Representatives passed a series of bills providing military aid to allies worth US$95bln – including US$60.8bln to Ukraine. Most of the aid to Kyiv is set to flow this year but nearly US$20bln will be provided over 2025-2026 to ensure a strong baseline level of aid. The approval came amid months of stalling over a part of the Republican party’s refusal to support the funding for Ukraine. The delay has had a material impact on the battlefield in Ukraine, with Ukrainian forces increasingly facing a Russian firepower superiority. The shortage – which includes a shortage of air defence systems – has also reportedly rendered Russian attacks on Ukraine’s cities more successful. The package must still pass the Senate but is expected to do so this week. President Joe Biden will likely sign it shortly thereafter.

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

Europe: Ethnic Serbs boycott vote to dismiss ethnic Albanian mayors in northern Kosovo

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability, civil unrest

In Kosovo, on 21 April ethnic Serbs boycotted a local referendum on whether to dismiss ethnic Albanian mayors in the four northern Serb-majority municipalities of Northern Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavic. In September 2023 Pristina pledged to re-organise elections in the municipalities after protests and clashes erupted on 26 May 2023 in response to ethnic Albanian mayors taking office following the April 2023 municipal elections boycotted by ethnic Serbs. However, the local Serbian List party dismissed the pre-election referendum, stating that the mayors should have simply resigned before new elections and that the referendum was not part of a deal agreed by international mediators between Pristina and Belgrade. The party also urged locals to boycott mayoral elections. The risk of civil unrest remains high amid worsening tensions between Pristina and Belgrade.

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MENA: Turkish President Erdogan begins key visit to Iraq

Sectors: all
Key risks: internal conflict; economic

In Iraq, on 22 April Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan arrived in Baghdad for his first visit in more than a decade with an extensive security and economic agenda set to be discussed with Iraqi officials. Firstly, Ankara is reportedly seeking greater cooperation with Baghdad in Turkish operations against Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants sheltering in northern Iraq, close to the Turkish border, as the Kurdish insurgency remains Ankara’s primary domestic security concern. Secondly, talks are expected to focus on water rights on the shared Tigris and Euphrates rivers and the possible resumption of oil exports from northern Iraq via pipeline to the Turkish port of Ceyhan – exports have been halted since March 2023 amid a dispute between Ankara, Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan region of Iraq. The visit is expected to yield several economic agreements and strengthen bilateral security ties.

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Sub-Saharan Africa: Withdrawal of US troops from Niger to worsen insecurity in the Sahel region

Sectors: all
Key risks: insecurity; regional instability

In Niger, on 19 April US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell informed the military government in Niamey that Washington would imminently begin the withdrawal of more than 1,000 troops stationed in the country. On 16 March the military junta revoked a military deal that permitted US troops to operate in the country. Washington has operated two drone bases – including Air Base 201 in Agadez, which was built at a cost of more than US$100m – used to launch operations against Islamic State (IS) and al-Qaeda-linked groups across the Sahel region. Diplomatic relations between Washington and Niamey, as well as other Western countries, have been strained since the overthrow of democratically-elected President Mohamed Bazoum in a coup in July 2023. The security environment in the country and across the Sahel region will significantly deteriorate following the withdrawal of US troops.

Click here to access Niger’s Global Intake country profile