Counter-terrorism strategies by security forces are hardening Islamist militant groups’ resolve and pushing insurgents to collaborate on tactics; as a result, kidnap risks for expatriates are steadily rising.
Four former presidents will dominate the upcoming elections, while their respective political vehicles are seeking to curry favour with the military and to create political alliances with rivals, although the threat of fresh civil unrest remains ever present.
While the South African economy is again stuck in a deep recession and measures aimed at fiscal consolidation are stalled, the new administration may have achieved sufficiently firm institutional gains to stave off a third sovereign credit rating downgrade by Moody’s in October.
In the first six months of its administration, the new government had taken a measured and pragmatic approach to pursue internal and external peace, enhanced political pluralism, and economic privatisation, yet remains challenged by both socio-political and institutional pressures.
Supporters of the opposition will start to mobilise to pressure the electoral commission to accept their demands for reform ahead of the December elections, yet even if the various fragmented opposition parties unite, the governing party’s candidate retains the strong benefit of incumbency.
The ongoing contract frustration experienced by telecoms firm MTN in Nigeria and the threat of punitive action against banks such as HSBC are highly indicative of intensifying populist and politically motivated rhetoric against foreign investors ahead of next year’s elections.
An escalation of violence is likely in the pre-election period in the Anglophone Southwest and Northwest regions, while road closures, kidnap threats, and robberies will pose a heightened risk in afflicted locations.
The newly elected president has consolidated his political authority through shaking up the cabinet, while he is sending a reformist message to creditors that he will prioritise growth as a mechanism for development, beginning with measures to stabilise the country’s precarious fiscal and monetary positions.
A booming economy and improved governance are creating fresh opportunities for project finance deals. While the economic and financial outlook is relatively strong, there are emerging concerns over political patronage and contract discrimination under the current administration.
A proposed delay to legislative elections seems engineered to favour the president and allied opposition, while harming the ruling party in parliament; international stakeholders will push for a compromise settlement to avoid another political crisis.
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