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SnapshotsJul 10, 2020 | 17:29 GMT
In Ivory Coast, a Presidential Candidate's Death Risks Ending in Violence
The unexpected death of Ivory Coast's prime minister and the ruling coalition's presidential candidate, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, risks dashing hopes that the world's top cocoa producer would experience its first-ever democratic transition of power without violence this year. On July 8, President Alassane Ouattara announced that Prime Minister Coulibaly had died upon returning from a cardiac examination in France.  Ouattara's ruling Rally of Houphouetists for Democracy and Peace (RHDP) coalition had selected Coulibaly to be his successor following Ouattarra's March announcement that he would not seek a third term in the 2020 presidential election, which is currently scheduled for October 31. Reuters reported July 8 that senior RHDP leaders held a closed-door meeting in which they agreed to pressure Ouattara to seek a third term.  Ouattara seeking a third term, however, will be viewed as highly controversial and would lead to a constitutional crisis over his eligibility. 
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AssessmentsJul 9, 2020 | 11:00 GMT
A crane moves Nord Stream 2 pipes at a port near Sassnitz, Germany, on June 5, 2019.
Nord Stream 2 Overcomes One Hurdle Only to Be Met With Another
Denmark’s decision to drop certain technical requirements for operating in its waters will allow Russia to use both of its available pipe-laying vessels to finish constructing the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. Another Russian vessel, the MV Fortuna, will now also be allowed to operate on the natural gas pipeline between Germany and Russia in Danish waters beginning Aug. 3. The United States, however, is now seeking to expand its sanctions to target all services related to constructing Nord Stream 2, including supply vessels and backfilling vessels. But even if construction is completed before additional sanctions disrupt progress, Washington could still take action to prevent Russia and Germany from putting their pipeline into operation.
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SnapshotsJul 7, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Drought Lays Bare Morocco’s Vulnerabilities
While declining rainfall is a problem across the Maghreb region of northwest Africa, this year's ongoing spring and summer drought is hitting Morocco's agricultural sector particularly hard. The drought will weaken the strategic objectives of the Moroccan government's agricultural investment plan, which prioritizes support for export-producing large farms over subsistence-producing small farms in order to drum up valuable export revenue. Dampened domestic production will also force Morocco to import more staple crops needed to feed its 36 million citizens. Combined with the loss of crucial agricultural revenue, the added expense of more imports will exacerbate the economic fallout from the COVID-19 crisis, which is already sapping Morocco's tourism revenue.
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SnapshotsJul 6, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A Proposed Oil Redistribution Plan Risks Further Fracturing Libya
Potential changes to the way oil revenue and exports are shared and distributed in Libya could have significant ramifications for the country's sovereignty and ongoing civil war by establishing de facto splits in Libya's financial system. In a June 29 statement, Libya's National Oil Corporation (NOC) said that it was “hopeful” that a deal could be reached in its negotiations with the country's internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) and other regional countries. The NOC also announced on July 1 that it had told workers to prepare to resume work at oil fields soon. Led by France, the United States, the United Nations and Egypt, these negotiations have centered on directly splitting oil revenue between Libya's three regions of Cyrenaica, Fezzan and Tripolitania. This new system would, in turn, bypass the country's Tripoli-based Central Bank of Libya (CBL), which is where Libya's oil revenue is currently deposited. 
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On GeopoliticsJul 3, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
A map of China.
China’s Rise as a Global Power Reaches Its Riskiest Point Yet
China is an empire in the modern sense -- a nation strengthened (but also held hostage) by its long supply chains, compelled to ever greater economic and political intercourse to preserve its interests, and increasingly drawn into the security sphere as well. It uses its economic, political and military leverage to expand its own direct sphere of operations, from the South China Sea to India and across Central Asia into Europe. The more engaged it is internationally, the more dependent it is on maintaining and strengthening those connections, which are critical for Chinese economic growth and, by extension, domestic management of its massive, diverse and economically unequal population. 
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SnapshotsJul 2, 2020 | 15:49 GMT
Amid Spiking COVID-19 Cases, Israel Slows Its Annexation Push
Israel is slowing, but not yet stopping, its annexation plans in the face of a COVID-19 resurgence and possible future changes to its relationship with the United States, forestalling Palestinian unrest and international backlash. The acceleration of these two trends -- further COVID-19 infections and U.S. President Donald Trump's sliding approval ratings -- could upend the annexation process by convincing Israel to shrink its scope or even commit to a long-term delay.
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AssessmentsJul 2, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
People stand in line to receive grant payments from the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) in Khayelitsha, a township located near Cape Town, on May 4, 2020. 
South Africa's Budget Outlook Paints a Picture of a Lost Decade
South Africa will likely miss its recently adjusted budget targets as the country’s escalating COVID-19 outbreak delays much-needed austerity measures, leaving the South African economy in shambles for at least another five years. President Cyril Ramaphosa and his pro-business allies in the ruling African National Congress (ANC) party had planned to rein in government spending and the country's sky-high debt levels over the next three years. But South Africa's likely extended health and economic crisis could make that goal politically untenable, given that any budget cuts and potential layoffs would most acutely affect the ANC's support base of labor unions and their poorer Black constituents. 
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AssessmentsJun 30, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Syrian refugees walk outside a tent at a camp near the Iraqi Kurdish town of Bardarash on Oct. 18, 2019.
COVID-19 Cash Shortages Will Cripple Global Humanitarian Efforts
Reductions in funding for multilateral aid due to the economic fallout from COVID-19 are impacting the fight against the epidemic in conflict zones such as Yemen, raising the prospect of migration flows and renewed fighting, while increasing pressure on private aid organizations to fund humanitarian programs. Funding for multilateral humanitarian aid is dwindling as donor countries increasingly turn inward to solve their own COVID-19 crises at home. Donor countries are providing pandemic relief in various ways, including debt relief, financial swaps and bilateral aid. But global economic contractions, estimated to hover around 7 percent this year, are reducing aid contributions to the United Nations and other institutions, creating severe systemic funding gaps. 
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Quarterly ForecastsJun 29, 2020 | 00:02 GMT
2020 Third-Quarter Forecast
While many of the trends identified in our annual forecast remain slowed down by COVID-19, their pace is picking up as countries carefully emerge from lockdown.
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AssessmentsJun 27, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Refugees and migrants stand at a port upon arriving at the Greek island of Lesbos on March 7, 2020.
Summer Weather Will Rekindle Europe's Migration Debate
The summer months will see an uptick in the arrival of migrants to Europe by sea and land, though a repetition of the 2015 crisis is unlikely. Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 crisis, however, even a moderate increase in migrants will risk further destabilizing the Continent’s already fraught economic and political environment.  The European Union will increase controls of its external borders and seek to improve the expulsion irregular migrants, but the introduction of mandatory quotas to more evenly distribute migrants across the bloc is improbable. This means the migration burden will continue to fall on Mediterranean states (who are already facing some of the deepest recessions due to COVID-19), as well as the bloc’s largest economies such as Germany. The Turkish-Greek border, in particular, will become especially volatile due to Ankara’s ongoing disputes with both Brussels and Athens.
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SnapshotsJun 25, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
The Worst Global Recession in 80 Years Is Here. Where’s the Bottom?
Prospects for a quick global economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic are officially dead, with all major international financial institutions and private forecasters now projecting huge cumulative losses and an uneven, prolonged climb out of the world’s steepest recession in 80 years. Economic models have proven incapable of dealing with uncertainties and discontinuities of the current unprecedented global lockdown. But even though magnitudes vary, recent forecasts are headed in the same direction -- down. 
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SnapshotsJun 19, 2020 | 18:29 GMT
A Major Cyberattack Further Stokes Australia-China Tensions
Amid a recent uptick in Sino-Australian tensions, China is continuing to raise the price of Australia's sustained support of a U.S.-led international push to investigate Beijing's role in the COVID-19 pandemic and more broadly confront China. On June 19, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that his country had been targeted by a sustained and wide-ranging cyberattack on government institutions, public services and businesses. Unnamed top officials said the Chinese government is the primary suspect. Australia, however, has shown no signs that it intends to back off from its confrontational diplomatic stance, despite China's continued economic threats and retaliatory actions in recent months. On June 11, Morrison said his government would not be intimidated by Beijing's "coercion" tactics, signaling his political resolve to maintain Australia's current scrutiny of Beijing's involvement in the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as Hong Kong's political crisis.  
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ReflectionsJun 10, 2020 | 17:06 GMT
A woman walks past closed shopfronts in what would be a normally busy fashion district in Los Angeles, California, on May 4, 2020.
Conflicting Data Muddies the U.S. Economic Outlook
The United States and other governments around the world face difficult policy decisions on fiscal stimulus amid great uncertainty regarding the course of their economies in light of the global COVID-19 crisis. But as evidenced by the conflicting data in the latest jobs report released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), it's proving difficult to find numbers and models that are both timely and use reliable data in order to gauge when economies will begin coming out of recovery on their own. Economic forecasts will be increasingly put under the microscope, making it important to understand what these predictions do and don't tell us.
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SnapshotsJun 10, 2020 | 09:00 GMT
Libya's Government of National Accord Rejects an Egyptian Cease-fire
In Libya, the Government of National Accord has rejected an Egyptian proposal for a cease-fire with the rival Libyan National Army and instead appears to be pushing farther east. But if the GNA succeeds in pushing deep into central and eastern Libya, it risks prompting the LNA's main foreign backers -- Egypt, Russia and the United Arab Emirates -- into deepening their involvement in the war-torn North African country.
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AssessmentsJun 9, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski, one of the main opposition candidates running in Poland's 2020 presidential election, greets locals and supporters in Wieliczka, Poland, during a campaign event on June 5, 2020. 
Poland After the Presidential Election
Poland’s upcoming presidential election could increase political instability at a time of already mounting economic uncertainty, should a less Euroskeptic opposition candidate defeat President Andrzej Duda and secure the power to veto legislation. Regardless of who wins, in the months ahead the Polish government will need to defend both its economy from further harm due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as its access to EU farming subsidies and cohesion funds in the bloc’s 2021-2027 budget. Over time, growing debt levels and a worsening deficit could damage the government’s popularity and open the door to political change by impeding Warsaw’s ability to expand social welfare benefits.  
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AssessmentsJun 5, 2020 | 10:00 GMT
Seven-year-old Hamza Haqqani, a 2nd grade student at Al-Huda Academy, uses a computer to participate in an online class with his teacher and classmates at his home in Bartlett, Illinois, on May 1, 2020. Al-Huda Academy has had to adopt an e-learning program to finish the year after all schools in the state were forced to cancel classes to curb the spread of COVID-19.
COVID-19 Pries Open the U.S. Education Market for Those up to the Task
Since schools began shutting down to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the United States, distance learning has become an increasingly essential tool for the U.S. primary and secondary education sector. But for the companies selling those technologies, uneven financial resources and inconsistent curriculum standards across America's 13,506 school districts will preclude any national "one-size-fits-all" approach to the U.S. market. Instead, companies will need to design flexible and highly customized products and instructional content in order to seize the opportunity at hand, and become a mainstay of classrooms across the country.
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