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Geopolitical Risks in 2023

Occasional Paper 4/2023

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APRIL 2023

by Dr Roelof Botha and Daryl Swanepoel

Introduction - heightened geopolitical risk

Geopolitical risk is characterised by its omnipresence, but there have been few, if any occasions than the events of 2022, when such a variety of overlapping shocks have transpired to create a bewildering sense of near-universal anxiety.

No sooner had most countries removed harsh lockdown regulations associated with the Covid pandemic than Russia staged a full-blown military invasion of Ukraine. The invasion started in February 2022 and is the biggest military mobilisation in Europe since World War II. The global repercussions of this war has shifted global concerns away from health issues related to the Covid pandemic and towards intensifying risks in the socio-political, security, environmental and macroeconomic domains. Russia’s subsequent use of energy as a weapon against Western European nations led to food and commodity price shocks that predictably resulted in the worst global price instability in more than four decades (EPRS, 2022).

The rapid tightening of monetary policy arguably caused more harm than good, as higher interest rates were never going to be effective to counter one of the other key reasons for the spike in inflation, namely the eight-fold increase between 2019 and 2021 in freight shipping rates (Kaspar, 2022). The latter was caused by the supply-chain disruptions during the Covid-pandemic, especially the random closure of key harbours as part of lockdown regulations.

Since 2022, the extraordinary confluence of geopolitical risks has also fuelled a cost-of-living crisis and heightened social unrest in many parts of the world. The World Bank has forecast a global economic slowdown, with median incomes in virtually all emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs) being eroded by inflation, currency depreciation and under-investment in human capital and private sector expansion (The World Bank, 2023). Since these gloomy predictions were published in January, however, a number of positive trends have started to emerge that suggest an avoidance of undue economic contraction. These include signs that inflation has peaked in most countries and the imminent recovery of the Chinese economy (Romei, 2022).

In addition to various risks whose intensity may eventually start to dissipate, the world is also grappling with climate transition that is not nearly as advanced as it needs to be. Until mid-January 2023, several authoritative research agencies, including the World Bank, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), the World Economic Forum (WEF), the Eurasia Group and a variety of academic institutions, had started to highlight and analyse new unfolding global risk scenarios.

In the process, a loose consensus has developed pointing to adverse ripple effects of the war in Ukraine, global monetary tightening and an economic slowdown in China, all of which were expected to weigh on the global economy in 2023. Global growth forecasts were revised downwards and the long-awaited final recovery phase from the Covid pandemic seemed to have been effectively halted (Gourinchas, 2022).

The latter half of 2022 witnessed the fall-out of these unfortunate circumstances. Carbon emissions started climbing again as production responded to pent-up demand and Russia’s use of food and energy as part of its military strategy was partly responsible for inflation rising to their highest levels in decades. China’s zero-Covid policy prevented a full reopening of global freight shipping routes, the cost of which had sky-rocketed as a result of supply-side constraints and harbour closures.

A cost-of-living crisis soon started unfolding, with Europe and under-developed nations having to bear the brunt of escalating food and energy prices. According to the World Bank, small states are especially vulnerable to such shocks because of their reliance on external trade and financing, limited economic diversification, elevated debt, and susceptibility to natural disasters and climate change (The World Bank, 2023).

Identifying the largest risks

Table 1 lists the ten largest global risks as identified by the latest Global Risks Perception Survey, published by the World Economic Forum.

Table 1: Global risks ranked by severity of impact over the short term

Fortunately, two of the three key triggers perceived to lead to higher levels of geopolitical and socio-economic instability have become considerably less potent in a short space of time, as portrayed by the latest Global Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and indications of an imminent reversal of the rising interest rate cycle in most countries (IMF, 2023). An element of optimism over a dilution of geo-economic risks has also emanated from rising asset prices, especially global equity markets and sovereign bonds of some emerging markets, including South Africa.

Risks associated with civil unrest and crime

As identified by an overview of recent authoritative economic and political research reports, including by the IMF, the US Federal Reserve and the European Union, it has become clear that governments and businesses all over the world are facing a variety of escalating risks, caused, inter alia, by:

  • The turmoil brought about by the war in Ukraine

  • Sanctions against Russia

  • Supply-chain disruptions

  • Unprecedented increases in shipping freight charges

  • China’s long-standing zero-Covid policy

  • Fiscal constraints from falling tax receipts

  • The rise in support for populist policies in some countries

  • Socio-economic inequality and poverty

  • Higher inflation

  • Higher interest rates

In its latest update on the global political risk outlook, Verisk Maplecroft points to risks currently being at the highest global level in the last five years. Unsurprisingly, the research company has concluded that, after two years in which the Covid-19 pandemic served as the primary source of global instability, the conflict in Ukraine was the main driver of risk in 2022 (Middleton, 2023). In December 2020, Verisk Maplecroft warned of a new era of civil unrest, projecting that 75 countries would see an increase in civil unrest risk by August 2022. The reality has been far worse, with more than 100 countries witnessing an increase in risk since then (Soltvedt, 2022).

According to Verisk Maplecroft’s latest Civil Unrest Index (CUI), the world is facing an unprecedented rise in civil unrest as governments all over the world grapple with the impact of inflation on the price of staple foods and energy. The data, covering seven years, shows that, during the last quarter of 2022, more countries witnessed an increase in risks from civil unrest than at any time since the Index was released. Out of 198 countries, 101 saw an increase in risk, compared with only 42 where the risk decreased. The impact is evident across the globe, with popular discontent over rising living costs emerging on the streets of developed and emerging markets alike (Soltvedt, 2022).

The CUI report rates crime as the biggest security issue facing companies in major cities across the world, putting staff, assets and supply chains at risk. Incidents of conflict and terrorism are primarily cited as threatening global security, but crime and civil unrest are more widely distributed threats. Of these, crime represents a significant cost to business, due to the need to protect staff and assets and maintain supply chain integrity (Soltvedt, 2022).

Verisk Maplecroft publishes a risk index for 579 urban centres with a population over 1 million on their exposure to a range of threats. The latest index shows that the most dangerous cities overall are distributed widely, with the top 100 including 33 cities from the Americas, 33 from Africa, 19 from Asia, 14 from Middle East/North Africa (MENA), and one from Europe. Unfortunately for South Africa, three of its own cities feature in the high and extreme risk categories, as depicted by the data in table 2. The data suggests that the severity and frequency of protests and labour activism is set to accelerate further during 2023 (Moshiri, 2022).

Table 2: Selection of global cities with the highest risks for crime and civil unrest

A concise discussion of the key geopolitical risks that feature in several authoritative research studies and surveys follows (in declining order of their probability to lead to an escalation of socio-economic and political instability).

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

It is no surprise that the war in Ukraine features prominently in all of the authoritative studies on current geopolitical tensions, as several other risks in the socio-economic and political domains are intrinsically tied to the conflict in Eastern Europe. Towards the end of February 2023, the United Nations General Assembly voted overwhelmingly in favour of a resolution calling for an end to the war and demanding that Russia leave Ukrainian territory (UN, 2023). A similar resolution was adopted a year ago, shortly after the invasion began.

The extent of global opposition to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is also illustrated by the fact that only one country in the Middle East block of 16 countries voted against the resolution (Syria), whilst only one abstained (Iran). Although Algeria and Tunisia regard themselves as part of the Middle East, they remain geographically part of Africa. The Middle East has a long-standing record of opposition to the US and strong ties to Russia.

Unfortunately, Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has also raised the spectre of nuclear warfare. On 31 January, the United States accused Russia of not complying with its obligations under the New Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), the only remaining treaty limiting the world’s two largest nuclear arsenals. The US State Department said Russia is refusing to facilitate inspections on its territory as required under the treaty. The United States remains committed to restoring compliance with the accord, it said (Hudson & Cho, 2023).

The allegations of noncompliance come months after Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons to defend the Ukrainian territory that Russia has illegally annexed. The demise of New START would mark the near-total collapse of the nuclear non-proliferation architecture that the United States and the Soviet Union, and later Russia, built in the 1980s and 1990s (Hudson & Cho, 2023).

The Russian Ambassador in Washington, Anatoly Antonov, said in a statement on 1 February that, due to the conflict in Ukraine, it was currently inappropriate to invite the U.S. military to Russia’s strategic facilities. He added that Russia still views the treaty as a useful tool for maintaining stability between the two nuclear powers (Hudson & Cho, 2023). In February, Russian President Vladimir Putin nevertheless signed a bill formally suspending the START treaty.

Further escalation of tensions

Tensions between the US and Russia over the invasion of Ukraine were heightened again on 24 March when Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that his country would station tactical nuclear arms in Belarus, a move that has predictably evoked fierce criticism from the US and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). Ukraine’s response was to request an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to counter Russia’s “nuclear blackmail”, whilst NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu calling the decision dangerous and irresponsible. She also stated that Russia’s reference to NATO’s nuclear sharing is totally misleading, as NATO allies always act with full respect of their international commitments (Gregory, 2023).

In addition, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued a warrant of arrest in March for Russian President Vladimir Putin for alleged war crimes related to the unlawful deportation of children and unlawful transfer of people from Ukraine to Russia (Borger & Sauer, 2023). President Cyril Ramaphosa's spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, has refused to speculate on South Africa’s likely position when Putin is expected to visit the country later this year for a Brics Summit, saying that no invitations had yet been sent to the leaders of the other four Brics countries. In a media statement, he did, however, acknowledge the South African government’s respect for international statutes (Gerber, 2023).

South Africa is a signatory of the Rome Statute and, therefore, has the responsibility to honour an ICC arrest warrant, if the person against whom it is issued sets foot in South Africa. This was not the case in 2015, when the South African government under Mr Jacob Zuma’s orders refused to detain the former president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, who attended an African Union summit in South Africa. Al-Bashir was subject to two ICC arrest warrants for several counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The following year, South Africa's Supreme Court of Appeal ruled that the implementation act for the Rome Statute overruled the immunity granted to foreign heads of state, and that Al-Bashir should have been arrested in South Africa (Gerber, 2023).

Although concern remains in the United States and Europe over Beijing providing military assistance to the Kremlin, the recent visit to Moscow by Chinese President Xi Jinping served to allay these fears somewhat. During the state visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the two leaders pledged friendship and predictably denounced the West. The West has been critical of China, suggesting that it is supporting Russia against Ukraine, but the Chinese leader has said that China had an "impartial position" on the conflict (Reuters, 2023). He also discussed with the Russian President China’s Position on the Political Settlement of the Ukraine Crisis, which plan has been developed by the Chinese authorities as a basis for their mediation to bring a resolve to the Russia-Ukraine conflict (FMPRC, 2023). To some extent, the summit between the Russian and Chinese leaders was upstaged in Kyiv, where Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida made an unannounced visit and met President Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Japan is the world’s 3rd largest economy and is an important Asian ally of the US and Europe.

During 2022, geopolitical risk became more pervasive and few countries have been left unscathed by the side-effects of the war in Ukraine, lingering supply-chain constraints due to China’s zero-Covid policies and renewed assertiveness by China towards Taiwan. GDP growth forecasts by the World Bank and the European Union prior to and after the onset of the war in Ukraine confirm a marked slowing down of the post-pandemic economic recovery, especially for EMDEs in the European and Central Asia regions (The World Bank, 2022).

Global economic damage

The damage wreaked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has spread to all parts of the globe, with advanced and emerging economies alike weakened as a result of:

  • Significant disruptions in trade flows and supply chains

  • Commodity price shocks, especially surging energy prices due to lower energy supplies to Europe

  • Sharp increases in food prices, which exacerbated the spike in global inflation caused by record freight shipping charges. It is estimated that Ukraine and Russia provide at least half of the grains for over 26 countries.

  • Declines in consumer and business confidence

  • A prolonged risk-off sentiment amongst global fund managers, which was reinforced by the sharp increase in US interest rates

  • Equity market weakness, which eroded household wealth/disposable income ratios

The macroeconomic impact of the war in Ukraine lends credence to the geopolitical risk (GPR) index, developed by Dario Caldara and Matteo Iacoviello and published by the US Federal Reserve.

Since the turn of the century, the following events led to spikes in the GPR index:

  • After the 9/11 terror attacks in the US (2001)

  • During the 2003 Iraq invasion

  • During the 2014 Russia-Ukraine crisis

  • After the Paris terrorist attacks in 2015

  • During the current war in Ukraine

(Caldara & Iacoviello, 2021)

Although the war in Ukraine only led to the fourth highest monthly reading of the GPR Index since 1985, it has resulted in the third highest ever annual average reading over the past four decades and the highest in almost two decades. On every occasion that a spike was observed in geopolitical risk, it resulted in a decline in real economic activity, equity market weakness and movements in capital flows away from emerging economies and towards advanced economies (Caldara & Iacoviello, 2021).

Global economic disruption, however, pales in comparison to the damage suffered by Ukraine. The country’s economy contracted by around 35% in 2022 and 14 million people are estimated to have been displaced. In addition to the tragic loss of life, the cost of recovery and reconstruction of infrastructure and productive capacity could amount to $350 billion, which is more than 1.5 times the size of Ukraine’s pre-war economy in 2021 (The World Bank, 2022).

NATO steps up its involvement

One of the reasons for Ukraine’s recent plea to members of NATO to supply the country with tanks is that the area in which the war is mostly being fought is flat and open. Russian forces have dug in deep, which rules out infantry-only attacks, but tanks could be decisive during the next phase of the war.

The US and Germany have been cautious about escalating the war, which explains their reticence at providing Ukraine with an offensive weapon like a tank (Cohen, 2023). But they do not want a stalemate to emerge along the existing lines of occupation. What they want, it is now clear, is for Ukraine to win.

Consequently, an escalation is firmly on the cards. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has requested 300 tanks, and at the moment, he is likely to get a third of that figure, which does not compare favourably to Russia’s estimated 2 000 battle-ready tanks and several thousand more in storage facilities. Interestingly, US military officials that have been monitoring the war estimate that Russia has already lost more than 1 000 tanks. What Russia clearly lacks, is unquestioned air superiority, and it is sheer madness to drive tanks into a modern battlefield that has no ground cover, without adequate air support (Cohen, 2023).

Since the beginning of the year, Ukraine has secured huge pledges of weapons from the West, offering new capabilities - the latest to include rockets from the United States that would nearly double the firing range of Ukrainian forces. Officials in the US have confirmed that a new $2 billion package of military aid will be announced early in February that would for the first time include gliding missiles that can strike targets more than 150 km away - a new weapon designed by Boeing (Stone, 2023). These weapons would put all of the Russian-occupied territory on Ukraine's mainland, as well as parts of the Crimea peninsula seized by Moscow in 2014, within range of Kyiv's forces.

In a significant shift, the Pentagon announced at the end of January that it would expedite the delivery of 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine by around September. Originally, the plan was to send the newer M1A2 Abrams tanks, but this would have taken between one and two years to deliver. Following pressure from Ukraine and other NATO countries, it has now been decided to rather send the older M1A1 version, which can be taken from existing US army stocks, subject to the necessary refurbishing. The new arrangement will provide Germany with political cover for a swift provision of Leopard battle tanks to Ukraine. An advantage of the older M1 Abrams tank is that it will be easier for Ukrainian forces to learn to use and maintain as they try to repel the invading Russian forces (Baldor, 2023).

According to Tim Cohen, business editor at Daily Maverick, the crucial aspect about the supply of tanks and other sophisticated weapons to Ukraine is the change of attitude in the West (Cohen, 2023). From now on, NATO is effectively at war with Russia and the world needs to face this fact.

In mid-March, Polish President Andzej Duda announced that the country would deliver the first four of a batch of Soviet-made MiG-29 fighter jets before the end of March. Poland has a stronger vested interest in an end to the Ukrainian conflict than most other countries, due to an imminent humanitarian crisis flowing from 10 million refugees that have entered Poland over the past 13 months (Statista, 2023). Poland and Slovakia, which has also committed to sending fighter jets to Ukraine, have already called on other countries to follow their lead. In February, Britain said that it would start to train Ukrainian pilots on fighter jets used by NATO countries. Commentators have suggested that the Polish donation was of more symbolic than battlefield value, with a senior Kyiv official calling it a “psychological tipping point” that could encourage other countries to also provide additional aircraft (Chapman et al, 2023).

Any doubt over the pervasive negative economic impact of Russian aggression in Ukraine was dispelled by the 25% decline in the value of the S&P 500 Index between the end of 2021 and September 2022 (Simonetti, 2022). Fortunately, however, global equity markets have recovered well since the third quarter of 2022, mainly due to signs that inflation has peaked in most countries and that hawkish monetary policy by the US Federal Reserve may end during the first half of 2023.

Tensions between the West and China

The conciliatory tone of an address at Davos by Liu He (a Chinese vice premier) stands in somewhat in contrast to President Xi Jinping’s cautioning to the West merely three months earlier that China is willing to use force to reunify Taiwan. The warning was made during his opening address to the Communist Party’s 2022 National Congress in Beijing, where he was appointed for a third term as Party leader after abolishing a two-term limit on the Chinese presidency in 2018 (Gan & McCarthy, 2022).

This move will effectively enable him to remain at the helm for an infinite period. Under Xi Jinping, China has taken a more assertive stance towards Taiwan, reaffirming its view that the island is a breakaway province that will eventually be part of the country.

This position has put China at odds with the United States and its Western allies, who maintain an approach of strategic ambiguity. Tensions between the US and China escalated in August 2022 with the visit to Taiwan by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. China perceived the visit as a challenge to its sovereignty over the nation and retaliated with a show of force by firing ballistic missiles over Taiwan (Lendon, 2022).

Xi Jinping is widely considered one of the most powerful Chinese leaders since Chairman Mao, but local dissent has increased due to his firm-hand approach, especially on the lengthy implementation of extremely harsh lockdown regulations. Millions of China’s citizens have suffered under the regular and tough enforcement of tight lockdown regulations.

In November 2022, anger eventually turned into widespread protests, triggered by an apartment fire that killed 10 people and comments on social media suggesting that the lockdown had prevented their escape (The Guardian, 2022). Xi Jinping’s rule has been characterised by restrictions which have seen thousands of critics sanctioned. The Chinese leader has also stepped up the regime’s control over the private sector, including a larger degree of surveillance and censorship, whilst his zero-Covid policy has been criticised for damaging the world’s second-largest economy (BBC News, 2022).

Tensions between China and the West also flared up earlier in 2022, shortly after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine, with US President Joe Biden warning Chinese leader Xi Jinping that Beijing could regret siding with Russia's invasion of Ukraine, pointing out the number of American and foreign corporations that left Russia as a consequence of its ruthless behaviour (Al Jazeera, 2022). The Biden administration has been pressuring China and other countries to refrain from supporting Russia, including attempts to counter Western sanctions and providing military assistance.

Western democracies, spearheaded by the US and the EU, remain concerned about China’s support to Russia following the invasion of Ukraine. The EU has also taken an increasingly confrontational stance towards what they term China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang where UN reported arbitrary and discriminatory detentions go against international law (UN, 2022), discrimination against EU firms operating in China and the country’s subsidy-led industrial model, which they say flouts the protocols of the World Trade Organisation, which, they say, effectively leads to dumping, a term associated with exporting goods at below cost (WTO, 2023).

Middle East tensions remain in place

Global geo-political risk also remains omnipresent in the Middle East, with multiple air strikes carried out by the US military in Syria against Iran-aligned groups during March. The retaliatory attacks were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden, following a drone attack that killed an American contractor and injured five US troops.

US officials believe that drone and rocket attacks are being directed by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Over the past two years, US troop shave come under attack by these groups 78 times, which has further strained the relations between Washington and Tehran (The Guardian, 2023).

Cyber-warfare aimed at damaging infrastructure

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and tensions surrounding Taiwan have increased the likelihood of major cyber-attacks between states. Given the much higher costs of direct military conflict and the difficulty in identifying perpetrators of cyber-attacks, any military escalation between repressive states like Russia and the West is most likely initially to take the form of cyber-warfare.

According to research by the Eurasia Group, a real possibility exists that Kremlin-affiliated hackers will ramp up cyber-attacks on Western firms and governments (Eurasia Group, 2023). This could take the form of attempts to disrupt oil pipelines, American and European satellites and infrastructure, including telecommunications and electricity grids, which would severely disrupt business operations. Further efforts to influence and sabotage global elections also pose a risk.

Environmental degradation

Concerns over global warming and environmental risks do not feature prominently in a number of recent studies on geopolitical risks in 2023 and beyond, including the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Risk Outlook 2023 (EIU, 2023). In contrast, The Global Risks Perceptions Survey 2023 (GRPS), published by the World Economic Forum (WEF) in January, shows that climate and environmental risks are the core focus of risks perceptions over the next decade.

In the ranking of global risks by the GRPS over the short term, environmental concerns represent five of the top-ten identified risks. Over the long term (ten years) this share rises to six out of the ten most severe perceived risks (WEF, 2023).

According to a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), biodiversity within and between ecosystems is already declining faster than at any other point during human history (IPBES, 2019). Human interventions have negatively impacted a complex and delicately balanced global natural ecosystem, triggering a chain of negative reactions.

Given that over half of the world's economic output is estimated to be moderately to highly dependent on nature, the collapse of ecosystems will have far-reaching economic and societal consequences. According to research contained in the GRPS, these include increased occurrence of diseases, a fall in crop yields and nutritional value, growing water stress exacerbating potentially violent conflict, loss of livelihoods dependent on food systems, and ever more dramatic floods, sea-level rises and erosion from the degradation of natural flood protection systems like water meadows and coastal mangroves (WEF, 2023).

A report from United Nations (UN) Climate Change published in October 2022 shows some progress in bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward but underlines that these efforts remain insufficient to limit the global temperature rising to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century (UNEP, 2022).

The fact that only 24 new or updated climate plans were submitted since the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the UN Convention on Climate Change is disappointing. The UN has repeatedly urged the 193 Parties under the Paris Agreement to align government decisions with actions that reflect the level of urgency, the gravity of the threats the world is facing, and the shortness of the time to avoid the devastating consequences of runaway climate change.

According to the UN, the downward trend in emissions expected by 2030 shows that nations have made some progress this year, but the world is still nowhere near the scale and pace of emission reductions required to achieve a 1.5 degrees Celsius world.

According to the EIU, climate change models point to an increased frequency of extreme weather events. Although these have been fairly sporadic and in different parts of the world, they could start to occur more frequently and for prolonged periods. Recent droughts and heatwaves in Europe, China, India and the US have contributed to rising prices of food. Crop shortages and rising food prices also raise the risk of food insecurity or even famine.

Other risks

A combination of slow growth, tightening financial conditions, and heavy indebtedness could weaken investment in new productive capacity and infrastructure and potentially trigger corporate defaults.

Fiscal stability is being threatened in less creditworthy emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs), especially if they are also energy importers. This threat is related to dampened capital market risk appetite, which has led to widespread capital outflows and slowing bond issuance across EMDEs. Socio-economic instability in less developed countries often leads to large-scale involuntary migration, as has been evident in North Africa, the Middle East, Venezuela and Zimbabwe.

The rise of social media has provided so-called generation Z with the ability to organise online to affect corporate and public policy, often making life difficult for multinationals and disrupting politics with the click of a button. Members of this generation were born into a world of peak tech­no­log­i­cal inno­va­tion - where infor­ma­tion was imme­di­ate­ly acces­si­ble and social media increas­ing­ly ubiquitous

The conflict in Ukraine has brought to the forefront the strategic competition that has been emerging between a Western model and a Chinese-Russia centred zone. The inherent longer-term risk for companies is related to the future manner in which China will engage internationally.


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This report has been published by the Inclusive Society Institute

The Inclusive Society Institute (ISI) is an autonomous and independent institution that functions independently from any other entity. It is founded for the purpose of supporting and further deepening multi-party democracy. The ISI’s work is motivated by its desire to achieve non-racialism, non-sexism, social justice and cohesion, economic development and equality in South Africa, through a value system that embodies the social and national democratic principles associated with a developmental state. It recognises that a well-functioning democracy requires well-functioning political formations that are suitably equipped and capacitated. It further acknowledges that South Africa is inextricably linked to the ever transforming and interdependent global world, which necessitates international and multilateral cooperation. As such, the ISI also seeks to achieve its ideals at a global level through cooperation with like-minded parties and organs of civil society who share its basic values. In South Africa, ISI’s ideological positioning is aligned with that of the current ruling party and others in broader society with similar ideals.

Phone: +27 (0) 21 201 1589



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