Quarterly Geopolitical Risk Forecast: Q4 2020
In this edition of the Forecast, the PGI Geopolitical Analysis team have identified civil unrest as posing a significant threat in a number of regions, particularly in relation to election activity, economic conditions and the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions. Political violence and international relations also feature across the globe.
Threat rating increase – Belarus and Ethiopia
Nationwide anti-government protests have continued in Belarus following a disputed election and subsequent crackdown by security forces. In Ethiopia, there has been a resurgence in violent protests in Oromia and other regions. Further protests are possible in the coming quarter amid heightened ethnic tensions across many parts of the country.
Heightened threat of election-related civil unrest
Violent protests broke out in Côte d’Ivoire in August following President Alassane Ouattara’s decision to run for a controversial third term, while Guinea saw similar unrest in July over President Alpha Condé’s re-election bid.
In Thailand, student-led protests have been calling for reform of the country’s political system and monarchy since July amid increasing anti-government sentiment.
COVID-19 continues to exacerbate unrest
Argentina, Ecuador and Paraguay have seen frequent demonstrations over restrictive measures and economic hardship amid the pandemic.
A reduction in restrictive measures in some countries may see dormant protest movements restart in the next quarter. In Colombia, opposition activists affiliated with the National Strike Committee (CPN) restarted nationwide protests that first began in November 2019 but were suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Political violence in two key countries
PGI has placed Mozambique on the watchlist amid an increase in militant attacks in Cabo Delgado, and growing indications that Islamic State-affiliated militants are capable of capturing and holding territory in the province.
In Libya, political violence has decreased amid concurrent ceasefires announced by rival governments in Tripoli and Benghazi. Despite occasional violations, there is a prospect that pressure from international actors might lead to negotiations.
Notable shift in international relations
Israel is on the watchlist ahead of a potential improvement in regional relations following US-backed normalisation agreements with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain in September.
PGI has also placed the US on the watchlist for international relations ahead of presidential elections in November. A win for Democratic candidate Joseph Biden at the elections could see a change in foreign policy direction, though relations with China are not expected to significantly improve.
Tensions between China and foreign governments are likely to continue, notably with Australia and India. Canberra introduced a bill that enables the federal government to veto agreements between local governments and foreign states, in a move seen as an attempt to prevent China from interfering in Australia’s internal affairs. Meanwhile, tensions between China and India continued to escalate over their disputed Himalayan border.
What is the Quarterly Geopolitical Risk Forecast?
PGI’s clients need to know what’s happening around the globe and the implications for the future. The Geopolitical Risk Forecast provides this information based on our ongoing monitoring and analysis of global events and geopolitical activity, and our experience working with organisations that have global footprints and need to ensure the safety of their people and the continuity of projects and commercial relationships.
The Quarterly Geopolitical Risk Forecast assesses previous and anticipated changes to the country risk ratings used by the PGI Geopolitical Risk Portal, covering a range of security and commercial threats.
What’s in the Forecast?
The Forecast is structured by region and provides an assessment of countries that have experienced a changing threat environment, as well as forward looking analysis for the next quarter.
The full document will cover:
- Threat changes: An assessment of a change in the quantitative risk score given to a country in the past quarter.
- Watch list: Current and forecast trends or upcoming events that could change the threat environment within a country during the next quarter.
- Key dates: Key political, religious and cultural dates and events to be aware of which could be of interest or pose a risk.
- Trend changes: An analysis of trend changes across the Risk Portal’s eight security and three business threat categories.