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Mexico’s Hank family – known for their wealth and the controversy that surrounds them – is set to further consolidate its power through the merger of Banorte and Grupo Financiero Interacciones. If approved by financial and competition regulators, this merger could provide the Hank family with influence regardless of the outcome of Mexico’s upcoming presidential elections.
Venezuela’s deepening political and economic crisis has spawned a crisis of leadership in both the ruling PSUV and the opposition coalition. With presidential elections slated for 2018, it has become increasingly unclear who will face off on the ballot. Diosdado Cabello could replace Nicolás Maduro as the face of the PSUV, while billionaire businessman Lorenzo Mendoza could step in to lead the fractured opposition. An election pitting Cabello against Mendoza would present voters with two radically different visions for Venezuela’s future.
The Colombian government has made progress in resolving conflict with armed groups, but it has not ended illegal mining. The dynamic between illicit groups and mining may be changing, but it is not disappearing; as such, the persistence of illegal mining will continue to dampen state finances through untaxed revenue and it will remain an obstacle to investment.
In an attempt to secure his political survival, Brazil’s President Temer appears to have sold out to the agribusiness lobby. Confronted by corruption charges and declining public support, Temer has been seen to accommodate FPA requests, ostensibly opening up agri-sector opportunities to the detriment of environmental protection.
Venezuela’s new National Constituent Assembly (ANC) unlocks another arena of struggle between President Nicolás Maduro and his long-time rival, Vice President of the PSUV, Diosdado Cabello Rondón. As a member of the ANC, Cabello is well-positioned to shape a political future in which his power is entrenched, possibly at Maduro’s expense.
At a time of growing isolationist political thinking in the West, enterprises and investors should capitalise on the opportunities offered by China’s OBOR.
The astonishing growth trajectory of China’s HNA Group is perplexing, not only to many Western businessmen, but also to observers from within China. It seems to owe much of its growth to its ability to skilfully balance political exposure – a blessing for now, but a potentially dangerous game.
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Based on an in-depth investigation conducted by Shadow Governance, this report details the criminal infiltration of Mexico’s second largest port – Lazaro Cardenas. In addition to highlighting how and why the port has been open to criminal influence, it identifies the groups involved and names key players.
China has been on a global port buying spree, and the pace is quickening. Beijing believes that China needs to rule the waves to truly secure its status as a great political and economic power. If it plays its diplomatic cards carefully, its strategy of influence through ports will continue to gain traction.
King Salman’s one month tour of Asia produced several bilateral agreements of note between Saudi and China, particularly in the energy sector. However, the intentions of these may be more-deep rooted.
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By placing increasing strategic importance in Djibouti, Beijing can turn the country into a major trade hub and a gateway to African economies. Although the construction of China’s Djibouti naval base has been perceived as a security threat to the ‘West’, it brings good news for global investors.
Should the US take a backseat in African affairs during the Trump presidency, China would have ample opportunity to increase its dominance over the continent.
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