Travelling in Africa 10th August 2018

All travellers planning to go to Africa are strongly advised to check the security and health situation on the UK FCO Travel Advice site and other sites such as the US state Department, WHO and seek a variety of sources. Much of north and central Africa is not safe. The UK FCO currently is currently advising 'Against all travel to' or  'Essential travel only' to many Sahel countries including Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, South Sudan, Northern Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia. In late July 2017 the FCO relaxed its advice with regards to Tunisia, Tunis and the tourist areas are now back in bounds.  

Southern and Eastern Africa are popular destinations and are certainly safer than much of North and Central Africa.

The risk of further terrorist attacks in Kenya is currently assessed as high. The Somali islamist terror group Al-Shabalab has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks within Kenya and further attack are likely, especially in Nairobi. On 21 Sept 2013 Al Shabaab killed over 40 people in an attack on the Westgate shopping center in downtown Nairobi and 150 students were killed in a co-ordinated attack on Garissa University on 3 April 2015. Travellers are reminded to be vigilant and to avoid crowded areas. On 8 August 2017 president Kenyatta was re-elected, the election was generally peaceful although the main opposition party made a legal challenge to the result and on 1 Sept the result was annulled in the Supreme Court and a second election was arranged for 29 Oct 2017 which Kenyatta won as the uncontested candidate. Aside from terrorism Kenya is one of the more developed countries in Africa, is showing strong growth and has a high level on education and is an excellent tourist and business location.  The rainy season has started, it typically runs March to May and in 2018 flooding has occurred in some areas. In 2018 there has been an increased cases of Cholera throughout Kenya.  

President Museveni has been re-elected as Uganda's president and sworn in again on 12 May 2016.

Nigeria continues in its effort to combat the advances of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. The Gambia held a presidential election in Dec 2016, the incumbent President Jammeh lost to Barrow but in mid December he rejected the result and refused to stand down, however, via regional mediation, he was forced into exile and left the country on 22 Jan 2017. President elect Barrow has now taken over.

Angola has seen a outbreak of Yellow Fever which has killed over 200 in the last 6 months. As with much of Africa visitors must be in possession of a valid vaccination certificate to gain entry to the country. In Benin there has been an outbreak of Cholera since July 2016. Recent visitors to Uganda have reported the need to show a valid Yellow Fever Certificate. Burundi is suffering an upturn of violence ahead of a referendum in mid May 2018 to extend presidential term. In Rwanda president Kagame was re-elected in August 2017 & may stay in power until 2034, the country is stable and prosperous but no room for any opposition to Kagame. In the Ivory Coast an army mutiny in early January 2017 highlighted the fragility of the political and security situation, travellers are advised to check the situation before they visit. 

Visitors to Zimbabwe can expect months of power cuts due to supply and now worsening financial situation. The Zimbabwean economy has had a few very difficult years but is now showing signs of improving due to the changed political situation. in July 2016 the government was unable to pay civil servants due to lack of funds and in early October 2017 the situation had worsened with cash and fuel shortages. On 15 October 2017 the Army intervened and removed President Mugabe as his wife Grace moved to line herself up to succeed him. On 24 Nov Mugabe's deputy and long time ally Emmerson Mngangagwa was sworn in promising a economic era.  Presidential elections took place on 30th July, violence erupted on 1 Aug as Zanu PF likely to have won.  There has been a significant outbreak of Typhoid in many of Harare's suburbs in early 2018.

South Africa high levels of crime are an issue in urban areas, especailly in Johannesburg. During 2017 opposition to President Zuma increased and he was persuaded to stand down & Cyril Ramaphosa was elected the new president of the ANC and became president on 15 Feb 2018. Since summer 2107 there has been an increase on robberies of business travellers on the road between OR Tambo airport and the city center. In September 2017 a party of 36 Dutch were held up at gunpoint. Consider taking the Gauteng train as a safer option. Much of South Africa, but especially Cape Town, has been suffering from severe water shortages, rationing was imposed in the Cape Town area. However the winter rains have arrived and the situation is improving. Malaria cases have increased since mid 2017, especaily in the Limpopo & Mpumalanga district.

Zambia has become politically unstable since the summer of 2017 whilst in Tanzania the President is showing more authoritarian tendencies.

Ethopia declared a state of emergency on 16 Feb 2018 following anti government protests after resignation of Prime Minister. After decades of fighting Ethopia and Ertieria have engaged in peace talks and cross border visits occurred in July 2018.

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa in 2015 & 2015 killed over 1100 in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia. All three countries were declared Ebola free by the WHO at the end of 2015 but an number of cases have occurred and further cases are expected but the local health authorities are now in a good position to deal with any new outbreak. Concern is increasing of another outbreak following over 30 deaths in western DRC in early May 2018 - WHO is deploying resources to contain the situation. Due to the outbreak many countries are imposing stricter border controls. These Ghana, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, South Africa and Tanzania. The outbreak in Mbandaka, DRC appears to have been contained and on 24 July it was declared over.

Southern Africa has for a number of years been experiencing severe drought conditions, however rains in early 2017 will hopefully help the area recover, inevitably the heavy rains caused much flooding. In Mozambique, Renamo insurgents are stepping up activity, attacks have been focused in the Sofala province, on 15 Aug 2016 6 people were killed when a vehicle was ambushed, travellers must get local security advice. In recent weeks there have been a number of attempted kidnapping against Asian businessmen in Maputu and the general level of crime appears to be on the increase. The drought has caused power shortages in Zambia, Zimbabwe and South Africa as the power output from Hydro electrical generation drops. The situation should now improve but South Africa continues to have a lack of energy generation capacity.

 

 

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