This week offers one of Africa’s most significant votes this year as Kenyans head to the polls on Tuesday to choose a new president.
The contest pits current Vice President William Ruto, 55, against Raila Odinga, a 77-year veteran of those campaigns who is in his fifth attempt at the top job. Relations with China, which has invested heavily in the country in recent decades, raising concerns among Kenyans, have become a key battleground for the campaign.
The usual incumbent advantage rule was reversed after Ruto’s falling out with current President Uhuru Kenyatta, who in turn threw his weight behind Odinga. As a result, the competition is now wide open, according to David Pilling, the FT’s Africa editor. Further commentary from the FT on Kenya’s ballot, which will also include elections for parliament and 47 local assemblies, will be released as the results come in.
Attention will also turn this week (again) to an important previous poll: the 2020 US presidential election. ordered by a New York judge to testify Tuesday before a grand jury investigating attempts by Trump supporters to overturn Georgia’s 2020 election results.
It’s an indication of the threat the Georgia grand jury investigation poses to Trump and his inner circle, greater by some than the Jan. 6 congressional committee investigation into the 2021 Capitol attack.
In other news, UK’s Summer of Discontent on post-lockdown pay rewards continues this week with up to 120 Red Funnel staff on the Isle of Wight ferry kicking off with a walkout on Tuesday. More than 1,000 workers at Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council, one of Northern Ireland’s largest local authorities, will stage a strike on Wednesday, affecting rubbish collection, planning and leisure services .
It will be the turn of Glasgow Underground workers on Friday, a particular inconvenience for Rangers fans on a match day, followed by (another) national railway strike by Aslef train drivers across nine rail companies on Saturday.
On the bright side, and heaven knows we need it, Tuesday kicks off UK school exam results season with Scottish students hoping to learn they have the grades they need in upper and upper secondary to get places in universities and colleges.
This is the first year students have taken exams since the pandemic, so expect this to be discussed as a factor in the grades students will receive. It will also be the occasion for a school report on the Scottish National Party’s performance in education north of the border.
The main economic news this week will be inflation data from the US and China, as well as the UK’s first stab at the second quarter gross domestic product figure.
We may also get indications of future fuel price developments with monthly oil market reports from the Energy Information Administration and OPEC. The growing likelihood of a recession and, by extension, oil demand concerns will impact these updates despite supply remaining very tight.
Like the holiday tan, the rush of corporate earnings announcements is fading for another season. The dominant theme will be insurance companies, providing further evidence of the damage inflation is causing to the industry, particularly auto insurers, as the price of parts and other claims costs rise sharply.
After July’s earnings warnings for Direct Line and Saber, all eyes will be on Admiral’s half-year results on Wednesday to see if its profitability and guidance can weather the inflationary threat.
Other notable players are Aviva and Zurich. “These will provide further evidence of how the largest diversified groups are faring in a period of rising interest rates and deteriorating economic prospects,” says my colleague, the FT’s insurance correspondent , Ian Smith.
Read the full schedule for the coming week here