Day: February 24, 2021

South Africa

SOUTH AFRICA: Tito’s “no austerity” consolidation budget

  • Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s 24 February budget benefits from better-than-expected revenue shortfalls but aims to hold the line on fiscal consolidation over the medium term.
  • Above all, his plan to stabilize South Africa’s public finances will stand or fall by the government’s ability to implement its bold public-sector wage freeze.
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ARGENTINA: Scandal over “VIP vaccines” has government worried

President Alberto Fernandez continues to fight a rearguard action to limit the political fallout from last week’s revelations about a group of officials, government allies, and the well-connected who secretly received Covid-19 vaccines in violation of eligibility rules. The very strong likelihood that the list of recipients goes well beyond the 70 people that the government admits received vaccines is likely to undermine the government’s crisis containment strategy.… Read the rest

Emerging Markets

RUSSIA: Vaccine diplomacy overshadows domestic immunization campaign

  • Russia is relying on vaccine diplomacy to bolster its reputation abroad amid deteriorating relations with the West and looming threat of sanctions.
  • Low public trust in domestic vaccines from Covid-19, their production bottlenecks and Moscow’s focus on vaccine diplomacy hamper progress of the domestic vaccination campaign.
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JAPAN: Suga faces new obstacle as ministry reveals son’s ties with regulators

On Wednesday, 24 February, Internal Affairs Minister Ryota Takeda announced the results of an internal investigation that found that 13 current and former Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) officials had violated administrative ethics rules. The officials, 11 of whom are expected to receive salary cut, reprimands, and other administrative punishments, had over several years accepted meals and other favors from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s son Seigo and other executives at Tohokushinsha Film, a company that produces TV programming and other satellite broadcasting and is licensed by MIC.… Read the rest


TURKEY: Erdogan’s diversions amid flagging support

  • President Tayyip Erdogan is more and more desperately trying to reverse the long-term decline in his public popularity.
  • A gradual easing of Covid-19 restrictions will start in early March while the inoculation program is facing an increasingly urgent shortage of vaccines.
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EUROPE: Managing the pandemic – what we are watching

This updated weekly piece provides snapshots of how selected European governments are dealing with the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you want to discuss any of the countries mentioned in more detail.

Graph of the week

  • EUROPE: Managing the pandemic – what we are watching 1Spain

    – The number of daily cases has fallen to below 10,000, which has led several regional governments to relax some of the restrictions.

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SPAIN: PSOE-Podemos coalition unlikely to break up

The infighting between the ruling center-left Socialist Workers’ Party (PSOE) and far-left Unidas Podemos has intensified in the last few days. While the most recent rift is allegedly due to differences over policy issues, the divisions result from PSOE’s attempts at preventing Podemos from influencing economic policy and the decline of the far-left party in opinion polls.… Read the rest