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2022 Review - Trends in Political Instability

2022 witnessed several mass movements across the world. Janes observed several overlapping themes related to inflation, labour issues, and fuel and food shortages, many of which lead to political instability in several countries. This intelligence briefing is an analysis of trends of protest and riots across 2022 using Janes Intelligence Events.


Hello and welcome to today's online intelligence briefing focusing on the topic 2022 review trends in political instability. As you can see on the map on your screen, protest and riot events were recorded across the globe. However, this year, the protest decreased by approximately 35% as compared with 2021.

The highest number of protests were reported in South Asia followed by Western Europe, Middle East, South America and Central America.

In our upcoming sections. We will look at these trends and protests to gauge political instability across the world as seen on the graphs. Some countries had a high number of protests in both 2021 and 2022 in Myanmar.

For example, continuous protests have been reported since the coup on 1st February 2021 civilians rejected the military junta and demanded a democratic government.

In Tunisia and Iran protests against unemployment and inflation have continued since global pandemic in US and France people protested against vaccine mandates lockdown, compulsory PCR testing and other restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2022 it is noteworthy that the global civil unrest caused by the pandemic was further aggravated by the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. This impacted several sectors and subsequently led to protests.

In the upcoming slides we will look at the sectors that were impacted and analyze the global protest trends related to them.

Globally protests analyzed by the Janes central events theme can be classified under four major themes of inflation, Food, energy and labor which have impacted political stability. We will start with the protests related to inflation.

Let's begin by understanding protest as the reaction to inflation.

Out of the four themes we will look at today inflation has the second highest number of protests.

Janes recorded 10.6% of total global protests which are related to inflation.

According to the International Monetary Fund, inflation is a sustained increase in the general price level often measured by an index of consumer prices.

The rate of inflation is the percentage change in the price level in a given period.

Inflation leads to a decline in the value of money. When the general price level increases, each unit of currency buys fewer goods and services.

This then leads to a reduction in the purchasing power per unit of money.

A loss of real value in the medium of exchange and unit of account within the economy.

Rising prices including food and fuel prices are some of the causes for an increase in worker strikes. And mass protests.

Protests against inflation initially started in 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in 2020 disrupted the supply chains.

These protests continued in 2022 despite government relaxing COVID-19 restrictions such as lockdown and reduced Personnel.

In 2022 the Russian invasion of Ukraine aggravated the global economic conditions by further disrupting the supply chains that were already impacted by the pandemic. Protests for fuel unemployment have been continuing since 2021.

This year However, Janes observed that the protests for food have been an emerging trend.

Janes recorded that 1.7% of total global protests were related to food prices or shortages.

In this section, we will analyze the countries where these protests emerged and their effects on stability.

Geopolitical and economic factors such as conflicts, the COVID-19 pandemic and inflation in 2022 restricted access to affordable food which led to protests in 61 countries.

Protests demanding government intervention started after prices of essential commodities like vegetable oil, milk, grains and meat increased amid food shortages and increased inflation.

Protesters prefer non-violent methods such as marches blockades and symbolic displays in about 78% of total food related protests.

Some of these protests turned violent after facing resistance from security forces.

They clashed with security forces looted food stores and attacked trucks carrying food supplies.

Protests related to food have been reported everywhere but were a major occurrence in South America, Middle East and Africa.

The protests related to labor, food, inflation and energy had a spillover effect on other important sectors globally.

We saw this happen in Sri Lanka this year when fuel crisis in the country led to a political turmoil.

The country's problems began with the COVID-19 pandemic after the tourism sector was hit, the tourism is third largest income generator for Sri Lanka. Civilians protested after the government was unable to pay for essential imports of fuel, fertilizers, food and medicine due to a shortage of foreign exchange fund.

In some incidences, civilians attacked and vandalized fuel carrying bowsers amid fuel shortage.

The fuel shortage were at such critical level that there was no oil to power thermal generators and there were no rains to operate hydropower plants. Blackouts were reported across the country for several days amid lack of money for imports. The cabinet minister also limited the distribution of fuel to essential services which threatened the halt of services such as health and public transportation. The situation was so dire that in June, the public administration and the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered public sector employees to work from home.

In July, Central Bank of Sri Lanka increased interest rate to a 21 year high after the inflation hit a record of 54.6%.

Sri Lankans also demanded resignation of Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa.

Government held a no confidence motion amid widespread protest and also approach IMF to initiate talks to secure credit facility.

While protests for four major themes that we have discussed in our briefing had similar demands across the globe there was also some important regional protests.