Hard Numbers: Argentina joins BRI, Azerbaijan releases Armenian prisoners, South African police come under fire, Australia set to reopen
23 billion: President Alberto Fernández has signed Argentina up to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, hoping to secure $23 billion in investments from Beijing. Buenos Aires likely hopes this will offer more breathing room after years of its painstaking negotiations with the IMF aimed at refinancing outstanding debt.
8: After mediation by the EU and France, Azerbaijan has agreed to release eight Armenian prisoners as a goodwill gesture to get border negotiations between the two countries back on track. Though the two states agreed in November 2020 to end the military conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, longstanding disagreements over borders persist.
300: Riots and looting broke out across South Africa last summer after former President Jacob Zuma was sentenced to 15 months in prison for failing to appear at a hearing on allegations of corruption. A new report on the riots, which led to more than 300 deaths, found that police failed to adequately anticipate and respond to the upheaval.24: Almost 24 months after closing its borders to foreigners amid the pandemic, Australia’s government plans to reopen to vaccinated tourists on Feb. 21. The tourism industry notably took a 17.6% hit in 2020, so a return to travel will be a boon for the economy.