Eurasia Group | World in a Week: 13 July 2020

World in a Week: 13 July 2020

13 July 2020
Eurasia Group's World in a Week summary of top stories for the week of 13 July 2020. All images courtesy of REUTERS.
From US sanctions against China for Uyghur human rights abuses to the death of Ivory Coast's prime minister, here are some of the top stories Eurasia Group's analysts are following this week.

Middle East and North Africa

  • Top story: Growing reverberations of the Libya conflict on international actors
  • Why it matters: A meeting will take place to discuss a recent naval incident between France and Turkey in the Mediterranean. France and Turkey support opposing sides in the war in Libya, and rising tension between them threatens the stability of the NATO alliance in which they are both members.

South & Southeast Asia

  • Top story: Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are holding the US-India Commercial Dialogue and the US-India CEO Forum on 14 July.
  • Why it matters: The US and India have been negotiating a limited trade deal since the US revoked India's participation in the Generalized Systems of Preference program. The Government of India has indicated that a deal is imminent, but this has been a constant message since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Donald Trump met at the UN General Assembly in September 2019. A number of issues have yet to be resolved, including India's price controls on medical devices, tariffs on electronics products, and now India's decision to move ahead with taxing foreign online advertising companies. And, the US decision to temporarily suspend issuing new H-1B visas also impacts Indian companies, adding to the list of issues that will likely hinder the announcement of a deal.


  • Top story: EU Council on 17–18 July
  • Why it matters: This will be critical to watch for a possible agreement on the Recovery Fund and details as to its size, the ratio of grants against loans, allocation, and the conditionality.


  • Top story: Ireland last week released its contact tracing app, Covid Tracker, which reported 1 million downloads in the first 48 hours and relies on Google and Apple's API. Other governments, including Gibraltar and Northern Ireland, have developed their tracing apps based on the Irish code.
  • Why it matters: Ireland is the latest government to rely on the technology giants' software, with Germany last month launching a similar app and Belgium earlier this month announcing plans to launch an app this fall replicating the German model. Meanwhile, others, including France, are grappling with homegrown alternatives. These contact tracing apps have confronted a host of issues, including glitches and other technical challenges as well as low uptake. The UK, for example, in mid-June disbanded its efforts to develop its own app, opting to use the Silicon Valley giants instead of its own after it discovered major flaws, such as logging only one out of every 25 contacts when used on iPhones. These apps may ultimately support a health status app that could facilitate cross border travel amid loosening movement restrictions in the European bloc, but would face more challenges, such as data privacy concerns and interoperability, than similar attempts in China, where apps are being used to establish exposure and status and use of facilities like public transportation.


  • Top story: Cote d'Ivoire Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly passed away on 8 July, less than a week after returning from a two-month trip to France, where he was receiving treatment for a heart condition.
  • Why it matters: Coulibaly was the presidential nominee of the ruling RHDP at the time of his death. His demise forces the party to select another candidate just three months before the elections scheduled for October.


  • Top story: Will Ukraine's government appoint a new central bank chief this week?
  • Why it matters: Governor Yakiv Smoliy resigned in protest on 1 July, claiming “systematic political pressure” was being applied to the bank's leadership. President Volodymyr Zelensky likely wants approval from parliament for his replacement before lawmakers go on summer break beginning 17 July. The governor had a good relationship with the IMF, which leads international financial support efforts needed for Kyiv's coronavirus response. Western financial backers will be looking to see if Zelensky picks someone who will maintain the central bank's independence and continue with reforms that are required to maintain the IMF support.

Energy, Climate & Resources

  • Top story: Development of the Dakota Access Pipeline controversy
  • Why it matters: A US federal court has ordered the Dakota Access Pipeline to shut down by 5 August because of an improper assessment of environmental risks. Project operator Energy Transfer Partners is using available legal tools to avoid taking the pipeline offline and facing a 13-month closure. This shows the enhanced difficulty for the country's midstream sector to navigate and produce legally resilient outcomes. Regardless of the final ruling or the presidential election result, states, industry associations, and activists will likely continue to use the courts to resist executive branch guidelines on environmental policies.


  • Top story: Fallout from Facebook suspending a fake news network associated with Bolsonaro
  • Why it matters: More than 80 social media profiles and pages were suspended last week and tied to close aides to the president and two of his sons, Flavio and Eduardo, who are federal legislators. These accounts reached almost 2 million people online, and the move has been the boldest from any social media platforms against Bolsonaro's propaganda machine so far. This comes on top of other ongoing probes from congress and the supreme court over the spread of fake news by the president's inner circle. While the president is unlikely to be removed from office over the case—with his popularity remaining steady at a reasonably high level—institutions and platforms zeroing in on his allies can damage his ability to rally his support base over time.

United States

  • Top story: Coronavirus
  • Why it matters: With a rising death toll and a new record of more than 70,000 cases in a day, the United States' failure to contain coronavirus will continue to have political and economic reverberations in an election year.

Northeast Asia

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