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Turkey: Erdogan to weigh up early election after referendum victory

• President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s narrow victory in the 16 April constitutional referendum illustrates ongoing limits to his public popularity in Turkey.  • Despite this, Erdogan could push the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) to seek early general elections in 2018 to exploit a disorganised political opposition and avoid the fallout from forecasts of worsening economic p


Venezuela: Unrest to persist as Maduro tightens grip on power

High levels of civil unrest in Venezuela since April are likely to persist, exacerbated by anger over President Nicolas Maduro’s increasing restrictions on the political opposition.   Economic instability and the difficult operating environment for foreign businesses may worsen further, with recent charges targeting Spanish telecommunications company Movistar illustrati


Iran: Rouhani faces rising challenges ahead of May election

Moderate President Hassan Rouhani is the favourite to win the election on 19 May, although recent criticism on his economic record and foreign policy has increased uncertainty around the outcome.     Irrespective of the winner, Iran’s investment climate will continue to experience uncertainty. If Rouhani wins, conservatives in rival political and religious institutions wi


High Risk Area (HRA) Situation Update

·         Several hijackings of commercial vessels in the High Risk Area (HRA) since mid-March represent the first notable escalation of pirate activity since 2012. ·         As well as four successful hijackings and one boarding reported since 13 March 2017, several suspicious approaches have also been reported in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el Mandeb in the past month, with a series of incidents reported as recently


Syria: Conflict to drag on as foreign intervention deepens

An imminent US-backed offensive on Islamic State-controlled Raqqa marks an inflection point in the Syrian civil war, as various rebel factions compete for influence in territory retaken from IS and foreign intervention in the conflict deepens. Despite the anticipated fall of Raqqa, the threat from jihadist groups in Syria will remain critical and both IS and al-Qaeda will


Mali: Al-Qaeda affiliates merge to form single organisation

Several Mali-based terrorist groups affiliated to al-Qaeda announced in early March that they were merging to form a single, united organisation. The formation of a united al-Qaeda branch threatens a sustained uptick in terrorist attacks in Ma


Hijacking of Aris 13 highlights ongoing piracy threat

The hijacking of the Aris 13 off Somalia’s northeast coast on 13 March illustrates the continuing threat of piracy in the High Risk Area, despite several years without a hijacking of a large commercial vessel.    Although international counter-piracy missions and improved vessel protection have helped mitigated the risk, the drivers of the piracy epidemic remain in place


Ecuador: Economy centre stage ahead of presidential run-off

Current polls indicate that the presidential run-off election on 2 April will be closely contested between socialist party candidate Lenin Moreno and conservative Guillermo Lasso.  Pledges to revive economic growth in Ecuador have taken centre stage in campaigning, with Lasso promising more radical reforms to address unemployment, reverse the central role of the state in the economy a


Pakistan: Recent attacks expose limits of counter-terrorism, threaten CPEC projects

A spate of bombings signal a renewed threat of militancy in Pakistan, with groups such as the Taliban and Islamic State demonstrating the ability to conduct a wide range of attacks nationwide. A new military campaign in response to this threat and possible reprisal attacks by militants raise the prospect of heightened violence and instability in the near term.  


Romania: Referendum on divisive graft bill to fuel civil unrest, policy uncertainty in near term

A planned referendum approved by parliament on 13 February on measures that would weaken anti-corruption legislation is likely to fuel civil unrest and regulatory uncertainty. Although it is too early to determine the outcome of the referendum, the controversy will likely result in an uncertain policy outlook, leading to further cabinet reshuffles and intensifying tensions between riva


Nigeria: Speculation around president’s health underscores policy failings

The three-week absence of President Muhammadu Buhari has raised widespread speculation and rumour that he is seriously ill or has already died. Although there is little evidence to support the rumours, the prolonged absence comes amid unrest over poor economic conditions and has raised concerns of a breakdown in the policymaking process. 


Tanzania: LNG project stalls as uncertainty rises

Despite high-profile efforts to accelerate the development of Tanzania’s liquid natural gas assets (LNG), there remains no clear timeline for completion of the project, and continued delays risk damaging public perceptions of the industry amid already unrealistic expectations. President John Magufuli’s higher taxes and unpredictable policies have increased the level of


UK: Slavery in supply chains remains a major legal, reputational challenge for businesses

Since the Modern Slavery Act was introduced in October 2015 there remains some confusion among companies over its implementation, particularly with regards to the drafting of annual slavery statements.  Although industry standards are still being set, there are at least some minimum obligations companies must meet in order to demonstrate their commitme


Algeria: Spending cuts threaten further protests in 12-month outlook

Violent protests in the northern Algerian city of Bajaia in early January highlight the scope for further protests in the year ahead over recent government tax hikes and cuts to energy subsidies. The austerity measures underscore Algeria's increasingly untenable political and economic model as the country struggles with low gas prices and the likelihood of repeat unres


Mexico: Unrest against fuel price hike risks sentiment towards IOCs

The Mexican government’s increase of fuel prices on 1 January has provoked a wave of unrest targeting petrol facilities across the country.   President Enrique Peña Nieto is not expected to reverse the measure and repeat unrest is likely this month. Further price spikes later this year and the ability of opposition groups to sustain protest action will determine the frequ


Iraq: Instability to persist after the fall of Mosul

Iraqi forces continue to make progress in their offensive to retake Mosul, though the battle for the western half of the city could prove even more complex and deadly than the current effort in the east.  The eventual fall of Mosul will mark a significant victory for the government and a major defeat for Islamic State (IS), though the group’s supporters will continue to launch ter


Abu Sayyaf Group shifts target to commercial vessels in Sulu, Celebes seas

Since October 2016 the militant Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) has been involved in a growing number of kidnappings targeting commercial vessels in the Celebes and Sulu seas between Borneo and the Philippines.   The shift reflects the group’s growing capacity to successfully attack faster-moving ships that will place larger commercial vessels at increasing risk in the


India: Demonetisation signals progress in anti-corruption drive but wider challenges remain

The unexpected withdrawal of large currency notes earlier this month is the latest and boldest move of the government to date to tackle the corruption and tax evasion that have long hurt state revenues. However, the move has been poorly implemented and is at best a one-time crackdown on illegal cash. Longer-term solutions t


Brazil: Overhaul of mining sector likely to face significant political resistance

President Michel Temer is in the process of an ambitious attempt to attract investment to the mining sector through a planned overhaul of the mining code and reforms to key regulatory agencies.  Although many of these initiatives will be welcomed by investors, particularly plans to simplify the acquisition of mining licences, popular opposition and political instability c


Bab el-Mandeb Situation Update

Reports from the owners of the Galicia Spirit LNG tanker that it was targeted by a skiff carrying explosives on 25 October have increased concerns about maritime security around the Bab el-Mandeb Strait. The attack follows several other incidents – including RPG attacks and suspicious approaches targeting both commercial and naval vessels in waters off Yemen this year. Although there remains uncertainty about the perpe


Iran: Investment outlook improves as 2017 election approaches

•             Recent US clarifications on sanctions against Iran have improved the climate for foreign investors, but uncertainty remains over extensive due diligence requirements and the consequences of the 8 November US presidential vote for Washington’s Iran policy. •             Although President Hassan Rouhani has acknowledged the need for further reforms to improve the in


Mexico: Fuel theft to increase costs for foreign investors

The theft of fuel from pipelines, tanker trucks and storage facilities in Mexico is a major criminal industry that shows no signs of abating, in spite of low oil prices and the recent passage of measures to counter the theft. The prevalence of oil theft raises important security and legal considerations for international oil companies (IOCs) looking to invest in the countr


Ethiopia: State of emergency unlikely to quell protests in Oromia and Amhara

Ethiopia declared a state of emergency on 9 October following months of violent anti-government protests in the Oromia and Amhara regions that have resulted in hundreds of deaths and attacks on foreign-owned businesses.  The unrest represents the greatest threat to Ethiopian stability since the EPRDF came to power 25 years ago amid a growing alignment of opposition moveme


India: New telecom firm raises prospect of faster data services but uncertainty remains

The launch of Reliance Jio Infocomm – which is equipped with strong infrastructure and the financial backing of India’s richest man – is likely to herald a new phase for communication services in the country. Faster and more affordable data networks could provide access to an as yet untapped market of users in smaller towns and villages, presenting growth opportunities for a wi


Egypt: Economic headwinds to persist despite IMF deal

Despite the agreement of a three-year USD 12 bn loan signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in August, high inflation and unemployment will continue to challenge Egypt’s economy well into 2017.  Investors will benefit from an easing of currency shortages and the eventual lifting of foreign exchange restrictions, but structural impediments to the private sector will rema


Libya: Insecurity and political divisions continue to threaten international shipping

Violent confrontations between Libyan maritime authorities and foreign vessels highlight the vulnerability of commercial shipping transiting the waters off Libya.    The presence of rival governing institutions has complicated the process of securing authorisation to enter Libyan waters, increasing the likelihood of hostile encounters with local security forces.   Risks to the shipping sec


Nord Stream unlikely to materialise by 2019 amid political, regulatory challenges

Gazprom and its European partners will be unable to bring the Nord Stream 2 pipeline online by 2019 as planned. As a result, Russia will be required to negotiate a new transit supply contract with Ukraine before the current agreement expires. The outlook for the new pipeline remains uncertain given shifting legal and political exigencies, but the most likely scenario for c


Libya: Instability to persist as challenges to unity government mount

The successful no-confidence vote in the Government of National Accord (GNA) on 22 August has led to renewed political uncertainty in Libya. The UN-backed unity government has consolidated its political position in Tripoli, but its legitimacy faces continued challenges from political rivals, who are manoeuvring to protect their own influence and interests.


Mali: Increasing attacks and tribal discord underscore weakening security environment

Since the beginning of the year, the Malian state’s grip over the country’s northern regions has weakened. Insecurity has also spread to central Mali, including strategic border areas and Mopti.    The underlying ethnic and tribal disputes that triggered the 2012 crisis have not been resolved and are worsening. Persecuted minorities, including the Fulani population and Tuar


India: Renewed unrest in Kashmir marks low point for ties with Pakistan

  The street protests that have plagued Kashmir for more than a month are likely to continue in the absence of meaningful political engagement between New Delhi and local stakeholders. Bilateral relations with Pakistan, which have worsened amid the Kashmir unrest, are set to remain fraught due to the limited political will for a resolution to the crisis.


Saudi Arabia: Diversification remains elusive as economic crisis persists

The unveiling of Saudi Arabia’s National Transformation Plan in June marks the most ambitious effort yet to diversify the Saudi economy and reduce its dependence on hydrocarbons, which have historically accounted for around 90 percent of state revenues.  The economic agenda has the strong support of the powerful Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, but limited backing for him


Zambia: Mining outlook likely to improve after contentious electoral period

The outcome of Zambia’s general election on 11 August is uncertain, increasing the prospect of a second round run-off between President Edgar Lungu and his main rival, Hakainde Hichilema. Irrespective of the outcome, the outlook for the mining sector is likely to improve once the election has passed, as the winning candidate looks to attract fresh investment and improve


DRC: Protracted political crisis, mass protests to continue in 12-month outlook

The mass protests in Kinshasa on 31 July in support of opposition leader Etienne Tshisekedi’s new anti-government platform mark a new stage in the effort to prevent President Joseph Kabila from staying in power beyond his second term. Despite the growing popular opposition, Kabila has shown little willingness to compromise and a number of scenarios are possible that will ensure the


The Philippines & Indonesia: Mining companies face increased compliance risks, further uncertainty

Both the Philippines and Indonesia are seeking to reinforce environmental regulations and increase revenues from the mining sector, compounding longer-term difficulties for mining operators in both countries. Mining firms could face penalties for not complying with previously unenforced regulations, especially in the Philippines where President Rodrigo Duterte has spoken against the


Turkey: Post-coup purge risks weakening security forces and provoking unrest

The failed military coup launched on 15 July and subsequent purge of the state security apparatus and civil service underscores the persistent divisions within the Turkish state, particularly in relation to opposition from within the military to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s authoritarian and Islamist-leaning government. The ongoing purge of dissent within the security forces will


Bangladesh: Dhaka attack underscores poor government response to escalating violence

The 1 July terrorist attack on an upmarket bakery in Dhaka could herald a more intense phase of Islamist violence in Bangladesh, as it suggests either that domestic militant groups have substantially improved their capabilities or that international jihadist groups such as the Islamic State have established a foothold in the country. The attack inside the capital’s diplo


Algeria: Presidency reshuffles cabinet to reform ailing economy

President Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s administration replaced the finance and energy ministers in a cabinet reshuffle on 11 June aimed at facilitating economic diversification and improving government revenues.  The reshuffle comes as state finances, which rely heavily on hydrocarbons, have been severely affected by the fall in oil and gas prices and declining production. 


Panama: Safety concerns over expanded canal could undermine economic advantages

The Panama Canal’s third set of locks was inaugurated on 26 June, opening the waterway to some of the world’s largest container vessels in operation, including the neo-panamax containerships. The expansion marks the end of a USD 5.3 bn nine-year construction project aimed at boosting cargo volumes and facilitating greater trade between the Americas and East Asia. The new development has howev


Europe after Brexit: Changing Geopolitical Dynamics

By Arthur Snell, Managing Director at PGI Intelligence The result of the 23 June referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union (EU) was a shock, even to leaders of the Leave campaign, exposing


Mozambique: Attacks on cargo in central provinces to continue despite agreement on peace talks

An agreement between the Mozambican government and the RENAMO opposition movement to participate in peace talks under international mediation is unlikely to bring an end to a surge in attacks on road and rail cargo.  A formal peace agreement will likely take months to negotiate, during which time RENAMO will continue its attacks and look to consolidate its position in central and no


Panama Papers point to shifting regulatory landscape for banks

The Panama Papers scandal has already prompted increased demands from regulators in the US and Mexico, and banks will have to adapt to changing operating conditions and compliance requirements. The scandal has increased calls for greater transparency over the ultimate beneficial owners of shell


Kenya: Electoral commission protests fuel tensions ahead of 2017 vote

Weekly opposition protests that began in May in demand of reform to the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IBEC) have grown increasingly violent and resulted in at least five fatalities. The government’s decision to impose a ban on further protests on 7 June and allegations of p


An evaluation of the lithium mining environment in South America

Growing demand for lithium in the next few years will see increasing investor interest in Chile, Argentina and Bolivia, which boast the world’s largest reserves of the mineral. Bolivia has the largest single deposit of lithium, but rudimentary infrastructure, a challenging regulatory environme


Above-ground risks to deter interest in Equatorial Guinea’s offshore bid round

Fraught relations with some international oil companies (IOCs) are expected to deter interest in Equatorial Guinea’s planned offshore bidding round due to open in June. New investment in the energy sector is critical to the government, which relies on hydrocarbons for the bulk of its revenues and has failed to adequately diversify the economy. Regulatory uncertainty and high levels o


Nigeria: Surge in pipeline attacks to continue in short to medium term

Nigerian oil output will remain subject to major outages for at least the next 12 months in the face of a surge in pipeline attacks that have demonstrated a high degree of technical proficiency on the part of the attackers. Little is known of the Niger Delta Avengers, the group that has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks, but its emergence could indicate a new generation of militants


West Africa: Evolving jihadist strategy increases threat to regional capitals

Attacks in Mali, Burkina Faso and Ivory Coast over the past six months represent a notable shift in jihadist activity in West Africa, as locations with little previous experience of Islamist extremism come under greater threat of attack. Growing cooperation between al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and other militant groups in the Sahel, combined with increasing competition with Islamic Stat


France: Safety concerns and travel disruption to be major features of Euro 2016

  ·     The Euro 2016 football tournament begins on 10 June amid fears of a terrorist attack targeting attendees, participants, local landmarks and transport hubs. Attempting to address these concerns, French authorities have taken steps to enhance security, particularly at stadiums and nearby fan zones, though questions remain over the safety of these locations and other public areas in the host cities.


Venezuela: Operating environment set to worsen across 2016

Recent riots over food shortages and the introduction of electricity rationing underline how the government’s perennial mismanagement of the economy are intensifying difficulties facing commercial operators in Venezuela. As well as food and power shortage


Pakistan: Nawaz Sharif faces mounting challenges

  The fallout of the Panama papers, rising civil unrest, security challenges, and the expanding role of the military in civilian affairs have resulted in the most challenging period for Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif since he took office in 2013. Sharif is likely to survive the current difficulties due to the weak position of the opposition and the military’s lack of in


Vietnam: Political transition marks uncertainty for the reform agenda

On 7 April, Vietnam’s ruling Communist Party elected Nguyen Xuan Phuc as prime minister, marking the end of the 10-year premiership of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, who has spearheaded vital economic reforms. Phuc’s selection was favoured by Secretary-General Nguyen Phu Trong, who is now likely to exert great


Iraq: Worsening political crisis threatens government stability

  Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s attempts to introduce a new cabinet as part of a reform drive have threatened his position, divided parliament, and strained traditional political alliances to the point of near collapse.   External support is likely to ensure Abadi remains in office, but division


Peru: Run-off election unlikely to dramatically alter mining sector

It remains too early to predict the outcome of Peru’s presidential run-off election between Pedro Pablo Kuzcynski and Keiko Fujimori on 5 June, but neither candidate is likely to radically alter the investment climate for mining companies. Both candidates have pledged to boost infrastructure spending and d


Fallout from Mossack Fonseca leak set to last months

  PGI’s latest Insight examines the political fallout of the Mossack Fonseca data leak, the broader challenges for businesses and the likely response from regulators in the months ahead. In the biggest data leak in history, German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, along with the International Consortium of


Mexico: Reforms improve prospects for first deepwater licensing round

  In December 2015, Mexico’s government announced plans to auction 10 offshore oil and gas fields in the Gulf of Mexico as part of the country’s first deepwater licensing round. Bidding was planned for later in 2016 and comes amid wider reforms to the energy s


India: Easing of investment restrictions could rekindle foreign interest in retail sector

The focus of India’s 2016/17 federal budget on boosting rural spending and lifting the limits of foreign investment in processed-food retailing provide potential opportunities for the retail sector, especially single-brand retailers.  However, challenges such as poor infrastructure, political opposition,


Mozambique: Conflict threatens infrastructure projects in central provinces

  An  intensification in the conflict between the RENAMO opposition group and FRELIMO-led government since the beginning of the year has led to a deterioration in the security environment in central Mozambique.  E


Angola: Uncertain succession process heightens political risks in two-year outlook

  President José Eduardo dos Santos’s surprise announcement on 11 March that he intends to step down at the end of his current term in 2018 has unnerved investors fearing political instability at a time of deteriorating economic prospects for Angola.


Alert: Suspected car bomb kills one in Berlin

German police have said they suspect an explosion in Berlin at around 0800 hrs local time was caused by a bomb. The device is reported to have detonated as an unidentified man was driving through the western district of Charlottenburg. It is unclear whether the attack was intended to be a suicide bombing or if the device accidentally detonated before it could rea


Brazil: Civil unrest to persist throughout 2016

Popular unrest directed towards the Brazilian government will continue throughout 2016, with the latest mass protests planned on 13 March. The ongoing corruption scandal at state-run oil firm Petrobras, political infighting within the government, and Brazil’s negative economic performance are all reinforcing anti-government sentiment, and wi


Libya: Political deadlock to delay Western intervention, sustain Islamic State influence

Recent US air strikes and reports of covert action by Western special forces reflect heightened concern over the regional threat from Islamic State (IS) in Libya, where the group has exploited the long-running political crisis to expand its territorial control. A deal to form a national unity government was reached in December 2015, but its implementation will continue to be undermined


Nigeria: Government crackdown fuelling kidnapping and sabotage attacks in Niger Delta

Since October 2015 there has been a notable increase in recorded kidnappings at sea in the Gulf of Guinea, as regional militant gangs move away from oil theft as their preferred source of revenue. The changing pattern of criminality is partly the result of a government crackdown on oil theft, but it is also


Alert: Car bomb kills at least five in Ankara

At least five people were killed and 10 others were injured as a result of a car bomb that exploded in the Turkish capital of Ankara at around 1830 hrs local time. The blast occurred in the city centre outside a military barracks on Merasim Sk, which lies near parliament, government offices and the headquarters of the Turkish armed forces. There were reports that


Pakistan: Government privatisation efforts threaten further unrest over next 12 months

  A seven-day strike by Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) workers that ended on 9 February reveals the extent of popular opposition to the government’s privatisation programme and the potential for related unrest.  The government’s unwillingness to acquiesce to demands by unions and opposi


Indonesia: New regulations aim to speed up stalled infrastructure projects

  New regulations to provide better legal protections to local officials and contractors and overcome excessive bureaucracy are expected to accelerate many major infrastructure projects in the transport, power generation, aviation and ports sectors.  Successful infrastructure development i


Senegal/Mauritania: Massive offshore gas discovery to boost development plans

Kosmos Energy has announced the discovery of 450 bn cubic metres of gas at its Guembeul-1 exploration well in the northern part of the Saint Louis Offshore Profond, straddling the border between Senegal and Mauritania. The announcement marks the biggest gas discovery in West Africa and will offer a new so


Iran: Legislative elections to test reformists’ influence following nuclear deal

  Elections in Iran on 26 February for parliament and the Assembly of Experts will gauge public sentiment and provide an early test for reformist politicians, just weeks after the lifting of international sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear programme.  The disqualification of large numb


Afghanistan: Attacks on foreign interests likely to rise amid efforts to resume Taliban peace talks

The Taliban and other insurgent groups have increased attacks on high-profile targets, such as diplomatic compounds and restaurants in Kabul and other parts of the country since late 2015. The Islamic State (IS) will seek to expand its ability to attack foreign interests in east Afghanistan, following a coordinated attack against Pakistani interests in Jalalabad.


Niger: Election tensions increase risk of protests, riots in Niamey - 20/01/2016

  Growing divisions within the military and the governing Party for Democracy and Socialism (PNDS) have created an increasingly volatile security environment in Niger as the country approaches presidential and legislative elections on 21 February. 


South Korea: Key labour reforms set to face intense union opposition

• The past 12 months have seen repeated episodes of industrial action and protests in opposition to proposed government reforms intended to overhaul the labour market and create greater flexibility for employers. • The reforms are seen as vital to delivering stronger economic growth and boosting productivity, but unions fear th


Iran/Saudi Arabia: Worsening Riyadh-Tehran rift exacerbates regional tensions

The execution of prominent Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr by Saudi authorities on 2 January for terror-related offences has inflamed sectarian divisions and geopolitical tensions across the Middle East.     Violent protests against Saudi diplomatic facilities in Iran have led Riyadh and several of its allies to downgrade their ties with Tehran in what appears to be an effort to rall


Burkina Faso: Successful political transition improves long-term stability

• Roch Marc Kabore’s election as president brings to a close more than a year of political turmoil in Burkina Faso, improving the country’s long-term prospects for stability. • Under Kabore’s presidency the influence of civil society groups will continue to grow at the expense of the military, placing pressure on the president to address long-running concerns around corruption and human rights abu


Congo: Government struggles to diversify economy

The three-day Invest in Congo conference held in Brazzaville from 19-21 November marks the government’s latest efforts to diversify the economy in the face of a sharp decline in oil revenues since 2014. The government is also planning four new special economic zones, but has struggled to attract investors amid br


Cuba: Barriers to investment to persist despite moves to liberalise the economy

Investor interest in Cuba has grown since the normalisation of relations with the US and the introduction of the Cuban Law on Foreign Investment (LFI) in March 2014. Nevertheless, several key obstacles to investment remain. Analysis of the tourism and oil and gas sectors and the flagship Mariel special economic zone demonstrate some of the


Argentina: Macri reforms face economic and political hurdles

  The election of Mauricio Macri, the candidate for the Cambiemos (Let’s Change) coalition, as Argentinian President on 22 November has been welcomed by investors and could initiate a turnaround in the country’s economic performance, which has been overshadowed by high inflation and isolation from global capital markets. 


Mexico: Security, corruption remain key threats to oil and gas investment

The liberalisation of Mexico’s oil and gas sector under the administration of President Peña Nieto has created significant commercial opportunities for foreign investors. Mexico is thought to have vast untapped hydrocarbons potential, but above-ground risks, namely security, corruption and regulatory uncertainty, will continue to create challenges for potential investors. Lawmakers in Mexico approv


Mauritania: Political stability in doubt amid falling commodity prices

  High production and transportation costs associated with a lack of adequate infrastructure has meant Mauritania is among the countries worst affected by the slump in global commodity prices. Several companies have already scaled back operations and the resulting fall in state revenues presents significant political challenge for the government of President Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz.


Turkey shoots down Russian warplane near Syrian border

Situation Update Turkey shot down a Russian Sukhoi Su-24 warplane on the morning of 24 November, after it had allegedly violated Turkish airspace while carrying out offensive operations over Syria. The plane crashed in an area known as Jabal Turkman in the Syrian province of Latakia. The area has been the scene of heavy f


Ethiopia: Planned mega airport to boost aviation and manufacturing sectors

Ethiopia has announced plans to construct a USD 4 bn mega airport in Addis Ababa that is intended to serve as many as 120 mn passengers annually when it opens in more than a decade’s time.   The project reflects the scale of Ethiopia’s economic ambitions and wil


India: Ending “tax terrorism” not the only fix to regulatory challenges

Mumbai High Court’s ruling in favour of Vodafone in a USD 490 mn retrospective tax case earlier this month has been touted by the Indian government as a symbolic step towards the end of so-called “tax terrorism”, which has weakened investor confidence in India for several years.  Although


Guinea: Condé plans to rejuvenate economy threatened by low commodity prices

President Alpha Condé will prioritise economic growth during his second term in office, following his victory in the 11 October presidential election.  Condé has indicated the government will focus on infrastructure investment in an effort to bolster the country’s mining industry, which makes up 26 percent of GDP. Low commodity prices, wide


Yemen: Conflict outlook

Some commercial operators are looking to resume activities in Yemen, following gains made by Saudi-led coalition forces since July and President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi’s return to the country in September. However, the outlook for Yemen remains extremely volatile and operators there remain exposed to considerable security and political risks. A protracted conflict, continued threats from militant groups and unresolved politica


Egypt: Operating challenges to persist despite optimism over Zohr gas discovery

Successful development of Italian oil giant Eni’s Zohr discovery could help to ease chronic energy shortages in Egypt from 2017. The discovery, made in August, comes amid a number of other investments announced by international oil companies (IOCs) in recent months and signals increasing optimism over the prospects for the sector after the political and regulatory turbulence that followed the 2011 revolution. Despite evidence of an impr


Myanmar: Election results to shape pace of political and economic reform

Myanmar’s Union Election Commission announced on 13 October that elections will go ahead on 8 November as planned, despite earlier reports of potential delays. The elections are widely expected to result in considerable support for opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD). A decisive victory for th


Mali: Flawed peace agreement to undermine government’s counter-militancy efforts

Repeated outbreaks of violence in northeastern Mali have cast doubt on the durability of a June peace agreement between Tuareg separatists and the government.   The failure to reintegrate Tuareg groups into the military, an


Bangladesh: Killings of foreign nationals fuel fears of escalating militant threat

  The killings of an Italian aid worker and a Japanese national claimed by Islamic State in the past week have elevated concern over the Islamist militant threat to foreign interests in Bangladesh.     The assassination


Congo-Brazzaville: Constitutional reform plans trigger opposition unrest

  Tens of thousands of people gathered in Brazzaville on 27 September to protest planned constitutional changes that will allow President Denis Sassou-Nguesso to extend his rule in elections next year.  The demonstration represents growing resentment to the proposed changes, particularly among southern communities, and illustrates the potential for further unrest in the comi


China: Operational challenges to slow aviation sector growth

  Consistently strong growth figures for China’s aviation sector over the past decade are set to continue, offering huge potential for investment. Authorities are likely to open up areas such as aircraft manufacturing, airport development and transport infrastructure serving both the domestic and international markets to further foreign inv


Mozambique: Violence in northern and central provinces threatens disruption to mining projects

  Mozambique’s main opposition party RENAMO declared it would boycott peace talks with the government on 14 September, further raising tensions in the wake of the country’s disputed 2014 election. The announcement comes amid a rise in sporadic violence in northern and central parts of the country in recent months, much of which has focused


Turkey: Erdogan’s security policy threatens to undermine ruling party ahead of November election

Turkey: Erdogan’s security policy threatens to undermine ruling party ahead of November election Security has significantly worsened in Turkey since the Justice and Development (AKP) party failed to secure a majority in the June parliamentary elections. The resumption of full-scale


Algeria: Political manoeuvring reduces influence of powerful intelligence agency

The arrest and dismissals of several senior security personnel since July are reshaping Algerian politics as uncertainty continues around the succession of aging President Abdelaziz Bouteflika. The changes – most recently including the replacement of long-term intelligence chief Mohamed Mediene – have weakened of the Department of Intelligence and Security (DRS) and in turn reinforced the position of the People’s National Ar


Kenya: Financing and security concerns threaten to delay LAPSSET infrastructure projects

The agreement on the route for the Uganda-Kenya crude export pipeline in August was hoped to kick-start Kenya’s ambitious LAPSSET infrastructure corridor programme. However, long-running debates around financing, security and labour disputes have placed several projects in doubt. Delays will undermine oil development in Uganda and northwest Kenya, as well as efforts to improve regional trade integration. The


Congo, DRC: Decentralisation to increase transport and taxation costs in Katanga

Congolese authorities have split the mineral-rich province of Katanga into four new provinces, in a move regarded as an effort to weaken Katanga’s pro-business governor Moise Katumbi ahead of elections in 2016. Decentralisation will likely result in increased transportation costs for mining companies, while it also elevates the risk of double taxation in the province. Efforts to challenge Katumbi will also increase political ten


Ivory Coast: Ouattara set to secure second term amid rising political tensions

On 31 August a coalition of opposition groups threatened to block Ivory Coast’s 25 October presidential election, raising the prospect of increased unrest over the next two months. Although unlikely to reach the levels of violence seen after the 2010 election, heightened security and divisions among rival parties will fuel disturbances in key urban areas, including Abidjan. Post-election, there are few signs tensions among oppos


Yemen: Conflict enables AQAP to expand influence in south and east

The civil war in Yemen has provided favourable conditions for Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to increase its territorial control in parts of the country. AQAP will continue to exploit the ongoing conflict in Yemen between pro- and anti-Houthi forces. The Saudi-led military coalition, which backs Yemen’s government in exile, has not prioritised operations against AQAP and forces loyal


Indonesia: Resource nationalism threatens interest in oil and gas bidding round

The Indonesian government announced in mid-August that it would auction 11 oil and gas blocks, as it seeks to increase long-term production and attract investment amid low oil prices. A previous auction in March 2015 secured investment from international oil companies (IOC), but concerns among investors over the aggressive acquisition strategy of state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina raise questions around long-term prospects


Iraq: Pipeline attacks worsen financial challenges for Kurdish oil producers

The sabotage of pipelines carrying Kurdish oil exports through Turkey has demonstrated the vulnerability of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to a resumption of fighting between the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Turkish government. The renewed conflict has increased the complexity of the operating environment in semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan, where political tensions with Baghdad and regional economic challenges


Southeast Asia: Illicit fuel market continues to drive hijackings and oil cargo thefts

On 8 August, Singapore-flagged Joaquim was the latest victim of small tanker hijackings, having 3,500 tonnes of marine fuel oil worth around USD 700,000 stolen in an incident near Malaysian waters. Frequent hijackings similar to this one underline the financial and security threats facing small tanker operators in South East Asia. High demand for illicit oil and a well-established black market will continue to drive attacks in the


Tanzania: New hydrocarbon laws fail to end confusion over future of tax & local content requirements

President Jakaya Kikwete signed into law three key pieces of legislation on 4 August that bring the country a step closer to establishing a new hydrocarbon regime. The laws, which are intended to overhaul Tanzania’s outdated oil and gas legislation, bring notable changes to the regulation of the sector, rates of taxation and local content obligations. These long-stalled policy changes have however failed to clarify a number of f


Lebanon: Refuse crisis threatens political stability

A political deadlock affecting refuse collection in Lebanon has fuelled unrest in Beirut and threatened the stability of the government. The inadequate government action and mismanagement of the situation is indicative of how wider indecision and political factions have disrupted policy-making and slowed economic development. Reports that Prime Minister Tammam Salam could resign will do little to resolve the current situation an


Somalia: Political disputes force companies to withdraw from Puntland

The withdrawal in late June of Africa Oil and Range Resources from the semi-autonomous region of Puntland highlights the challenging political environment facing investors in Somalia’s oil and gas sector. The companies’ departure will be seen as a success for the federal government, which is engaged in a long-running dispute with regional authorities over the right to award oil licenses. The withdrawal is unlikely, however,


Oil exploration to exacerbate Venezuela-Guyana maritime dispute

Oil exploration in the contested Essequibo area between Guyana and Venezuela has exacerbated a long-running territorial dispute between the countries that is likely to intensify ahead of parliamentary elections in Venezuela in December 2015. Venezuela’s past harassment of oil vessels in the contested area and its unilateral declaration of a maritime exclusion zone over much of Guyana’s territori


Madagascar’s new mining and petroleum bills threatened by political instability

Madagascar's Mining and Petroleum Minister Joeli Valerien Lalaharisaina has announced plans to pass long-delayed mining and petroleum bills in October. Political instability since the 2009 coup has weakened investor appetite, while an impeachment scandal in May has left the National Assembly in disarray, casting doubt over whether both bills will be passed this year. Even if the bills are approved, high levels of political ris


Political and pre-emption risk in oil and gas acquisitions and divestitures

The fall in global oil prices since mid-2014 has put pressure on industry finances, encouraging companies to consider both acquisitions and asset divestitures. In joint venture arrangements, changes in the ownership of assets are often contractually subject to pre-emption clauses which grant other stakeholders, including governments, the right of refusal. Political and regulatory trends, relations between government and industry, an


Militant attacks endanger Egyptian investor climate

A fresh wave of militant attacks targeting private companies and infrastructure is threatening to undermine Egypt’s economic recovery. Since March, there has been a surge in attacks on power infrastructure and multinational companies in what appears to be a deliberate attempt to weaken investor confidence. As yet, most incidents have had only localised consequences, but the growing sophistication of militant attacks highlight the


Nigerian fuel crisis highlights potential for further shortages as Buhari takes power

On 25 May, the Nigerian government agreed to pay fuel wholesalers USD 1 bn to end weeks of fuel shortages that had resulted in widespread disruption to businesses. Despite the agreement, many companies have continued to report difficulties, and a backlog of supplies mean shortages could continue for at least another week. In the longer term, the crisis highlights the potential for a confrontation between President Muhammadu Buhari


Regulatory uncertainty threatens investor interest in Thai oil and gas bidding round in June

Thailand’s energy minister Narongchai Akrasenee said on 24 April that the delayed bidding round for 29 oil and gas blocks would go ahead in June 2015. The announcement follows a three month delay to allow a review of contracting terms under the current Petroleum Act. Despite this, a new act is unlikely to be passed before the auction, raising significant uncertainty over what terms will be applied to investors. Environmental and


Amnesty programme uncertainty risks renewal of violence in Nigeria

A series of recent attacks highlight the possibility of a resumption of militant activity in the Niger Delta in the aftermath of Nigeria’s 2015 general election. Many militant leaders in the region deeply oppose President-elect Muhammadu Buhari, who they fear will be unwilling to renew the 2009 Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) when it expires in October. This is likely to see an upsurge in attacks in the coming months as mil


Civil unrest and armed violence set to increase during Sudan’s electoral period

Sudan’s controversial presidential election on 13-15 April presents the risk of significant violence and disruption in several parts of the country. Opposition parties have declared a boycott of the vote and protests are expected in Khartoum and other urban areas. Meanwhile, rebel forces have threatened to intensify attacks during the electoral period, placing civilian personnel and aircraft at risk, particularly in Blue Nile, S


Limited violence expected as Buhari wins landmark Nigerian election

On 31 March Muhammadu Buhari won the Nigerian presidential election, marking the first democratic transition of power in the country’s history. Despite isolated instances of election-related civil unrest and violence, the likelihood of a repeat of the widespread post-election violence witnessed in 2011 remains minimal as President Goodluck Jonathan has conceded defeat, urging his supporters to remain peaceful. Notwithstanding en


Hijacking and cargo theft continue to threaten small tankers in Southeast Asia

A series of hijackings in Southeast Asian waters since January 2015 represents a continuation of a negative security trend observed since April 2014. A high demand for illicit oil will continue to drive fuel theft and the targeting of small, low freeboard tankers in the region. Regional efforts to penetrate organised crime networks suspected of responsibility for the attacks have failed to deter piracy. The hijackings show no sign


Key players in ongoing political and military conflict in Yemen

The political and security environment in Yemen has deteriorated rapidly in the wake of a Houthi offensive against the government since 2014. The situation has escalated since late January 2015 when Houthis ousted President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, the aftermath of which has left Yemen politically and increasingly geographically divided. The advance of Houthi fighters towards the southern city of Aden, Saudi airstrikes on Houthi mi


Regulatory uncertainty to persist In Burkina Faso despite proposed new mining code

The transitional government of President Michel Kafando has submitted a revised version of the mining code to parliament. The measure follows the introduction of a new anti-corruption law and appears to be part of a broader effort to address both international and domestic concerns over illicit practices in the mining sector. The precedent for lengthy delays in passing mining regulations and political uncertainty ahead of the Octo


Maritime disputes in South China Sea threaten existing and future oil and gas operations

On 2 March, the Philippine government ordered UK-listed company Forum Energy to suspend its operations in its SC 72 drilling block off the coast of Palawan, citing force majeure due to an ongoing dispute with Beijing. A number of other offshore blocks under exploration in Malaysia, Brunei, Vietnam and elsewhere in the South China Sea are vulnerable to similar disruption and legal uncertainty as a result of unresolved territorial d


Health rumours highlight uncertainty over Iranian supreme leader’s succession

On 8 March, images showing Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking in public were broadcast on state television, in an apparent attempt to end speculation in foreign media that he was unwell. Although Khamenei appeared to be in good health, the reports have drawn attention to the uncertainty surrounding Iran’s succession process. Despite the predominance of hardliners in the regime, it remains unclear who will ul


Algeria: Shale gas protests to continue amid declining energy revenues

Protests against extraction of shale gas through hydraulic fracturing have intensified since beginning on 1 January and will continue given competing economic drivers and popular opposition. Amid environmental concerns, protester opposition will likely intensify should developments be perceived to favour foreign and northern Algerian workers, reinforcing long-held local perceptions that the oil and gas sector has not brought loca


Maritime disputes threaten African oil exploration

Reports on 2 March that a maritime boundary dispute between Ghana and Ivory Coast could force the suspension of Tullow Oil’s TEN project, exemplify one of a growing number of such cases that could slow future African oil exploration and production. Uncertainty around the demarcation of maritime boundaries has persisted in many areas since the colonial period, but has come to the fore in recent years amid increasing activity in A


Delay to Thai oil and gas bidding round raises likelihood of future regulatory changes

An indefinite delay to Thailand’s 21st bidding round for 29 oil and gas blocks will slow investment in the sector and marks a success for environmental and civic activists, who had called for changes to contracting terms. A planned review of the regulatory regime governing the sector will now take at least three months to conduct and creates uncertainty for potential investors in Thailand’s long-stalled and increas


Moves to loosen restrictions on fracking to face strong opposition in Germany

The German government’s proposal to loosen its ban on hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, boosts the prospects for shale gas and represents a major opportunity for the country to diversify its energy supplies. However, the likelihood of concerted opposition to the draft law among some political, environmentalist and community groups means that the development of Germany’s fracking industry remains uncertain. The experience of o


Protests to remain key operational consideration for Peruvian extractive sector

Demonstrations on 11 February against a natural gas project operated by Argentine energy company Pluspetrol in Pichanaki, Chanchamayo province, highlighted the ongoing challenges facing extractive and infrastructure projects in Peru. Protests regularly affect foreign companies’ operations, halting construction or production, and disrupting movement and supply chains in the surrounding areas. Protests, most often driven by enviro


Nigerian election delay set to increase political tensions

The postponement of the Nigerian election threatens to fuel short-term unrest and undermine confidence in the country’s democratic credentials. Accusations of political motivations behind the postponement will elevate tensions between the opposition APC and the ruling PDP, and increase the likelihood of allegations of voting irregularities in the wake of the election. The six-week delay will not overcome the threat posed by Bok


Increased militant attacks to threaten economic progress in Egypt

Multiple bombings in Cairo and Alexandria on 3 February are demonstrative of the increase in suspected militant attacks across Lower Egypt in recent weeks. If sustained, reports of more frequent bombings against civilian targets such as public squares and shopping centres would represent a significant shift in militant tactics in urban areas. The threat from Islamist militants remains concentrated in the Sinai, but efforts by Ansa


Possible intervention by Washington risks further escalation of Ukrainian separatist conflict

Recent weeks have seen a dramatic escalation in the Ukrainian separatist conflict. Civilian deaths have increased substantially, and with the current separatist offensive gaining significant ground from government forces, the US is considering arming the Ukrainian military. However, such a move could provoke further escalation of the conflict, with an increase in US involvement risking more direct intervention by Moscow, and dimi


Increased militant attacks to threaten economic progress in Egypt

Multiple bombings in Cairo and Alexandria on 3 February are demonstrative of the increase in suspected militant attacks across Lower Egypt in recent weeks. If sustained, reports of more frequent bombings against civilian targets such as public squares and shopping centres would represent a significant shift in militant tactics in urban areas. The threat from Islamist militants remains concentrated in the Sinai, but efforts by Ansa


Worsening Libya conflict increases threat to ports and shipping

Vessels operating in Libyan waters will remain vulnerable to attack amid limited prospects for a near-term resolution to the country’s de factor civil war. The greatest threat extends to ships operating in waters that lie outside the direct control of the internationally recognised government, though port operations across the country have also been repeatedly disrupted by civil unrest and strikes. Operators who continue to tran


Floods set to cause long-term economic impact in Malawi and Mozambique

Floods have killed hundreds of people, displaced thousands of others and destroyed crucial transport and energy infrastructure since they first began in Mozambique and Malawi in early January 2015. The effect on business operations and trade has also been severe, delaying mining exports and disrupting agricultural production. Although international aid has now begun to arrive, rescue operations are likely to take several months an


Crisis worsens for Yemen as president resigns under Houthi pressure

The resignation of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on 22 January worsens the protracted political crisis affecting Yemen. Parliament is yet to vote on whether it accepts the resignation and will hold an extraordinary session on 25 January to discuss the unfolding situation. In the short term, political instability and high levels of unrest will persist, particularly in Sana’a, and foreign companies are likely to maintain limit


Negative outlook for Libya in 2015 amid worsening violence

The conflict in Libya will worsen in 2015 as political and diplomatic efforts prove incapable of halting the continued escalation of the violence, which has now spread across much of the country. High levels of fighting are likely to persist with neither side currently capable of a decisive military victory. Given the need to secure vital revenues, both the internationally recognised government based in Beida and the rival Islamis


Failed Gambian coup highlights divisions in military

The Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has blamed foreign attackers for a suspected coup on 29-30 December, sparking a crackdown on dissidents in the capital Banjul in recent days. Although little is known of the identity of the attackers, the incident is a further indication of divisions within the military and the fragility of the Jammeh regime. The coup attempt will add to concerns over the country’s long-term political stabil


Nigerian election campaigning to intensify after main parties announce candidates

Nigeria’s two main political parties have confirmed their presidential candidates for February’s elections, after the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) voted on 11 December in favour of former military ruler and three-times losing candidate Muhammadu Buhari. The appointment will see Buhari stand against President Goodluck Jonathan of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in what is expected to be the most closely cont


Anti-government protests to intensify in lead-up to Togolese election

At least three mass anti-government demonstrations have taken place in Lomé since mid-November, underscoring growing anger over the absence of constitutional reforms. Opposition groups are demanding the introduction of term limits amid suspicions President Faure Gnassingbe is planning to stand for re-election. Should he do so, there is a significant risk of violence, though the loyalty of the security forces to the Gnassingbe fam


Anti-government protests to intensify in lead-up to Togolese election

At least three mass anti-government demonstrations have taken place in Lomé since mid-November, underscoring growing anger over the absence of constitutional reforms. Opposition groups are demanding the introduction of term limits amid suspicions President Faure Gnassingbe is planning to stand for re-election. Should he do so, there is a significant risk of violence, though the loyalty of the security forces to the Gnassingbe fam


Zimbabwean succession crisis worsens economic prospects

Economic conditions in Zimbabwe are deteriorating amid infighting within the ruling ZANU-PF party over who will succeed 90-year-old President Robert Mugabe. The uncertainty surrounding the succession has led many companies to withhold investment, while the IMF has cut Zimbabwe’s growth forecast for 2014. Although ZANU-PF’s annual conference from 2-7 December may provide some clues as to who is leading the race, this is unlikel


Power struggle between Somali president and prime minister intensifies

More than 100 Somali lawmakers put forward a parliamentary motion on 17 November calling for President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud to dismiss Prime Minister Abdiweli Sheikh Ahmed. The motion comes amid a bitter dispute between Ahmed and Mohamud after the prime minister reshuffled the cabinet in October, side-lining one of the president’s most powerful allies. The stand-off has paralysed the government and could undermine recent securi


Mongolian government under pressure to resolve mining dispute before end of year

The ousting of Mongolian Prime Minister Norov Altankhuyag by a no-confidence vote on 5 November highlights continuing political instability and uncertainty around the country’s mining sector. Delays to the USD 5.4 bn underground expansion of the Oyu Tolgoi (OT) open-pit mine contributed to Altankhuyag’s fall, and the project remains stalled amid a dispute over investment terms between the government and miner Rio Tinto. OT is


Resumed maritime talks between Timor-Leste and Australia impact Timor Sea oil and gas prospects

Resumed maritime talks between Timor-Leste and Australia impact Timor Sea oil and gas prospects The decision by East Timor to freeze international arbitration for six months and resume bilateral negotiations with Australia could resolve the disputed maritime border and the contested ownership of more than USD 55 bn worth of proven oil and gas resources in the Timor Sea. Any resolution is expected to give


Succession crisis in Zambia intensifies following Sata’s death

Succession tensions are mounting in Zambia following the death of Michael Sata on 28 October. On 3 November, rioting broke out in Lusaka after interim president Guy Scott dismissed presidential front-runner Edgar Lungu as the ruling party’s secretary-general, forcing Scott to reverse the decision a day later. There remains a high risk of further violence as the country heads towards elections due in the next three months, partic


Political turmoil to persist in Burkina Faso amid uncertainty over transition process

The situation in Burkina Faso remains extremely volatile since the military seized power on 31 October amid a popular uprising against President Blaise Compaore. The military does not enjoy the support of the vast majority of protesters and is itself beset by divisions that could threaten political stability. The timeline of the transition process is unclear, but popular concerns that the military will fail to deliver on its pledg


Turkey’s Kobane stance risks reigniting PKK insurgency

Since the Islamic State (IS) siege of Kobane began in mid-September, the Turkish government has faced vociferous calls from Turkish Kurds to support the Syrian Kurdish-majority city. The Turkish posture is symptomatic of the difficulties Ankara faces in balancing domestic and foreign policy goals. Critically, it also threatens to undermine a tentative ceasefire with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and rejuvenate the domestic


Thai government announces first oil and gas auction since 2007

Thailand’s National Energy Policy Committee announced on 22 October that 23 onshore and six offshore blocks will be auctioned for exploration and production activities on 18 February 2015. The announcement of the 21st bidding round came with further clarification on the terms governing the new concessions and may signal the completion of amendments to the much-delayed 2007 Petroleum Act. The government is seeking greater foreign


Surge in rebel violence undermines security in DRC’s North Kivu

A series of attacks against civilian and government targets in North Kivu represents a resurgence in rebel activity in the volatile eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Most of the attacks have been attributed to the Allied Democratic Forces – National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU), indicating the group has reorganised after its bases were overrun by Congolese and UN forces in February. The group’s reviva


Fall of Anbar could force more aggressive coalition response to Islamic State

Iraq’s Anbar province is expected to fall to Islamic State-led militants in the absence of a major intervention by federal or US-led coalition forces. This will increase the threat to Baghdad, but any militant offensive against the capital is unlikely to succeed given US air support and the concentration of government and militia forces around the city. The potential fall of Anbar underscores the weaknesses of the current US-led


Ambitious oil output targets threatened by regulatory and political risks in Chad

This month Chad’s finance minister confirmed that the country planned to double current oil production by the end of 2015. However the IMF has warned that the boom in output will be short-lived without new discoveries and investment. Considering long-standing concerns over the operating environment in Chad, specifically with regard to regulatory uncertainty and governance, the country is likely to struggle to attract large-scale


Prabowo coalition’s power grab complicates Indonesian president-elect’s reform drive

A consolidation of power among the coalition of losing presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto in the House of Representatives (DPR) threatens president-elect Joko Widodo’s ability to carry out planned reforms. Widodo will attempt to weaken Prabowo’s coalition ahead of his inauguration on 20 October in the hope of strengthening investor confidence, which has weakened significantly since his victory in July. Despite these effor


Cambodian and Thai troops clash at disputed Preah Vihear temple

The clash between Cambodian and Thai troops at Preah Vihear comes amid long-standing unresolved land and maritime disputes between the two countries, which could worsen under the new Thai military-led government. Any potential escalation of fighting will threaten to damage bilateral trade relations and undermine the 2013 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on Preah Vihear. The exchange of fire on 29 Se


October peace agreement in Myanmar unlikely amid current rebel violence

Cross-border transits between Thailand and Myanmar are being disrupted by ongoing clashes between the Democratic Karen Buddhist Army (DKBA) and the military in Myawaddy. The fighting, which has seen the most serious clashes in eastern Myanmar since 2012, has escalated during September and is likely to continue. The military is fundamentally opposed to several key rebel demands and its political influence means that a nationwide pe


Prolonged congestion disrupts cocoa exports from Douala

Overuse and poor maintenance have resulted in extensive delays at the port of Douala, increasing the time and costs of trade at the terminal. Congestion has had a particularly detrimental effect on the export of cocoa, of which Cameroon is the fifth largest producer globally. Although the government has taken some steps to reduce the delays, the absence of viable alternative terminals and growing demand for Douala’s facilities m


Threat to ban foreign workers highlights operating risks in South Sudan

The South Sudanese government’s threat to expel all foreign workers on 16 September is indicative of the high risk to international operators inside the country. The disjointed manner of the announcement and the decision to significantly water down the threat the following day highlights the poor coordination within the government and high levels of political volatility in South Sudan. Amid public anger over foreign employment r


US to deploy thousands of troops amid sharp increase in ebola cases

President Barack Obama announced on 16 September that the US would send 3,000 troops to West Africa to assist in efforts against ebola, including a major deployment to Liberia where the epidemic is spreading fastest. The news is the latest in a series of recent announcements from world powers and international organisations promising more funding and manpower to tackle the disease. Although the deployments are vital to countering


Indonesian fuel subsidies present primary challenge to Widodo administration

The removal of fuel subsidies in Indonesia presents one of the most pressing issues for incumbent President Joko Widodo when he enters office on 20 October. The government faces immense economic pressure to remove subsidies but the move will face vast public opposition, heightening the threat of public unrest during the remainder of the year. Fuel subsidies are expected to cost the economy USD 31 bn in 2015


Mogadishu takes maritime dispute with Kenya to UN court

Somalia has said it will bring its long-standing maritime border dispute with Kenya to the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a move that could end years of bilateral wrangling over potentially vast offshore oil and gas reserves. The dispute has been a major source of tension between the two countries, particularly following Kenya’s decision in 2012 to award exploration licenses in the contested area. Although the co


West African economies threatened by ebola

Since the ebola epidemic first emerged in February 2014, at least nine African countries have closed land, sea or air borders in an effort to halt the spread of the virus. The closures have disrupted imports and have begun to have severe impacts on key economic sectors in the worst-affected countries of Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. The ongoing spread of the virus, and the emergence of new cases of the disease in the regional


Mexican shale sector faces vast security challenges

Mexican energy reforms are forecast to double national oil production and increase foreign investment by as much as USD 15 bn annually from 2015. As well as offshore exploration and production, shale oil and gas will provide a major growth sector. New investors however face multiple security challenges and some of the largest known shale deposits are located in areas exposed to exceptionally high rates of crime, especially the nor


Recent attack highlights ongoing threat to oil interests in Somaliland

An attack on a convoy belonging to Norwegian/UAE oil company DNO in the Sool region highlights the high level threat to oil interests in the disputed territory between Somaliland and Puntland. DNO has denied Somali media reports that it has withdrawn its staff from Somaliland and suspended operations there. The latest attack raises further questions over the viability of onshore operations in the country, particularly in contested


Infrastructure reform key to attracting new investment in India

Indian shares and the value of the rupee rose as election results were announced last week, showing market optimism about the planned economic reforms of the BJP government. The Indian economy needs revival after years of slowing growth and rising fiscal deficit. Foreign investment will be essential to driving growth, but this will be heavily dependent on the country’s ability to overcome political and bureaucratic barriers to a


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