Quarterly Geopolitical Risk Forecast: Q1 2021
In this edition of the Forecast, the PGI Geopolitical Analysis team have identified major changes in international relations in several regions, along with political violence and civil unrest related to election activity and COVID-19. Countries continue to impose lockdown measures and other restrictions, harming business continuity and international travel. There are also several business threat categories covered in the report.
International relations – changes in several regions over the coming quarter
An improvement in relations between Washington and Tehran is expected with the incoming Biden administration in the US. While Australia’s international relations threat rating has been raised amid worsening relations with its largest trade partner, China. PGI also anticipates a gradual improvement in relations in the Gulf region with the apparent end of a Saudi-led blockade of Qatar.
Political violence and election-related civil unrest
In the Africa region, PGI has increased the political violence threat rating in both Ethiopia and Mozambique. The Central African Republic has also been placed on the watchlist for political violence after several powerful armed groups affiliated with former president Francois Bozizé attempted to disrupt a presidential election on 27 December. There is also a high risk of further violent unrest in Uganda ahead of a presidential election on 14 January.
Meanwhile, Myanmar could see an uptick in political violence because of an alleged voting ban in restive areas in a general election in November 2020. In Israel there is a risk of an increase in protests ahead of planned elections in March. PGI has increased the civil unrest threat rating for India, where hundreds of thousands of farmers protesting agricultural reforms have blocked major motorways leading to Delhi since November 2020.
Continued COVID-19 impacts
Although the roll out of vaccines may lead to longer-term improvement in medical threat ratings, programmes could take months to have an impact. Opposition to COVID-19 restrictions and anger over government mishandling will continue to contribute to unrest in Germany, the US, and other countries. Unrest may increase as the economic impact of the virus worsens in the second year of the pandemic.
The emergence of new strains of COVID-19 with higher transmissibility in South Africa and the UK in December underscores the threat of continued disruption from the virus. Tens of countries have imposed increased flight and entry restrictions in response to this development.
Threats to business
PGI has increased the regulatory environment threat rating for the UK after London and the EU finally secured a tariff-free trade agreement on 24 December, which may disrupt the flow of goods and affect industries reliant on imports.
The Philippines has been placed on the watchlist for Fraud and Corruption, amid a national probe to tackle corruption.
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.