Americas: Insurance company Sura withdraws from Colombia’s health system

Sectors: all
Key Risks: civil unrest

In Colombia, on 28 May domestic-owned insurance company Sura announced its withdrawal from the country’s health system, citing insufficient funds from leftist President Gustavo Petro’s government to cover its costs for managing over 5 million patients. Opposition leaders accused Bogota’s left-wing government of attempting to eliminate private insurers to force reliance on public insurance. The announcement came after on 3 April a senate committee rejected Petro’s government’s proposed health reform – including stripping power from insurers, expanding access to health care and creating a government agency to centralise payments. On 2 April the government took control of two major health insurers – Sanitas and Nueva EPS – prompting opposition backlash and market fears. With thousands of jobs threatened following Sura’s withdrawal and the government’s increased control of the health care system, civil unrest risks will remain heightened in the short term.

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

Asia Pacific: Indian exit polls point to a massive BJP majority

Sectors: all
Key Risks: democratic backsliding

In India, exit polls released on 1 June from the country’s seven-phase general election point to a resounding victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP. The polls suggest that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance will win between 353 and 401 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha – the lower house of parliament – a slight improvement of its performance in 2019. While exit polls can be unreliable, it nonetheless appears highly likely that the BJP will win a majority and remain in power for a third consecutive term. Modi appears to be popular, in part due to improvements in the economy and there are no indications that the BJP would change policy direction. There is a risk of further democratic backsliding, particularly if the BJP-led coalition captures the two-thirds of the seats required to push through constitutional changes. Official results will be announced on 4 June.

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

Eurasia: Anti-government protests led by Archbishop Galstanian to continue in Armenia

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political instability; civil unrest

In Armenia, protests against the government and its 19 April decision to cede control of four villages in Tavush region to Azerbaijan are set to continue. On 2 June the protests’ leader, Archbishop Bagrat Galstanian, called on his supporters to gather in the capital Yerevan on 3 June to rally against the handover, as well as the arrest of 28 protesters during a 31 May demonstration outside the Foreign Affairs Ministry building. While police claim that those 28 individuals were arrested for using violence to break through police barriers to enter the building, Galstanian maintains the arrests were made to “intimidate” the opposition. Galstanian also seeks to impeach Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and take his post, although his dual Canadian-Armenian citizenship makes him ineligible. Further demonstrations with the potential to turn violent and/ or disruptive are likely in the coming week.

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

Europe: EU citizens to elect Members of European Parliament in 6-9 June elections

Sectors: all
Key Risks: political stability; policy uncertainty

In the European Union (EU), on 6-9 June citizens of the EU’s 27 member states will vote in the European Parliament (EP) elections to elect 720 Members (MEPs) for a five-year term. The EP negotiates EU laws with member state governments, approves the EU budget and votes on international agreements and enlargement of the bloc. The election will come amid a rise of far-right parties across Europe. On 23 May Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party was expelled from the EP’s far-right Identity and Democracy (ID) group – which includes France’s National Rally (RN) led by Marine le Pen – amid a string of scandals involving AfD officials. On 27 May Le Pen invited Italy’s Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni – who heads the EP’s centre-right European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group – to form a right-wing “super-group”. The election will likely shift European politics further to the right.

Click here to access Italy’s, here to access France’s, and here to access Germany’s Global Intake country profiles.

MENA: US ceasefire plan raises hope for end of hostilities in Gaza

Sectors: all
Key risks: war; humanitarian crisis

In Gaza, on 31 May Israel’s military assault on the southern city of Rafah continued. Concurrently, US President Joe Biden announced a three-phase proposal involving first a six-week ceasefire with the release of some Israeli hostages in exchange for hundreds of Palestinian captives in Israeli jails, a significant increase in access to humanitarian aid and the unimpeded return of displaced residents to northern Gaza. The second phase will reportedly involve the full withdrawal of Israeli forces from Gaza, the release of all remaining hostages and the disarmament of Hamas while the third phase entails international and US-supported reconstruction efforts. Hamas stated that it looked positively on the proposal, however, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated the war would continue until all objectives, including Hamas’ destruction, were achieved, thereby casting doubt on the prospect of a rapid cessation of hostilities.

Click here to access Gaza and the West Bank‘s Global Intake country profile.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Nigerian labour unions call for nationwide strike over minimum wage

Sectors:  all
Key risks: political instability; civil unrest

In Nigeria, on 31 May the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) – the country’s two largest unions – declared an indefinite strike starting from 3 June. The decision came after unsuccessful negotiations with the government regarding a new minimum wage. The unions are demanding a monthly minimum wage of NGN500,000 (US$333.77), while the government has offered an increase of NGN60,000 (US$40.05). The federal government has declared the strike illegal as negotiations between the state and labour unions are still ongoing. The risk of widespread violent protests will remain high in the coming days. Protesters will likely block traffic on main roads and access to government buildings, especially in the capital Abuja. Clashes between protesters and security forces are likely, particularly if demonstrators are overly disruptive and ignore police orders to disperse.

Click here to access Nigeria’s Global Intake country profile