Africa: Top Risks for February 2021

In February, pandemic-induced socio-economic grievances will spill over in cities across the Middle East and Africa, particularly in Malawi, Sudan, Lebanon, and Tunisia. The threat of internal armed conflict is elevated in Central African Republic and south-eastern Nigeria, as well as in Libya, where the October 2020 ceasefire agreement appears under under threat of collapse amidst a renewed blockade of several oil terminals. Inter-state tensions continue to escalate in East Africa, with recent bouts of violence reported on the Somalia-Kenya and Ethiopia-Sudan borders. Political tensions linked to electoral processes will also continue to drive the threat of civil unrest in Uganda, Djibouti, and Niger in the coming weeks. Iran-Israel tensions have increased amidst a series of recent Israeli military engagements in Syria, while the threat of cross-border attacks has risen in Saudi Arabia. In Iraq, a rare high-impact suicide bombing in Baghdad highlights the steady resurgence of Islamist militancy within the country.

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Some 13 presidential ballots and up to 20 legislative and local elections will determine the political risk outlook for many African countries in 2021. Crucial votes are also expected in the Middle East this year. PANGEA-RISK identies the main elections to watch and assesses the risk outlook across these regions as elections proceed during the second year of the pandemic.

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