Travelling in Africa 6th May 2022

All travellers planning to go to Africa are strongly advised to check the security and health situation on the UK FCDO Travel Advice site and other sites such as the US state Department, W.H.O. etc. 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 Feb 2022 Granmce a

Terrorism remains a significant issue in Kenya, on 15 January 2019, Al Shabab, the Somalia based Islamist group, killed at least 15 people in a hotel attack in Nairobi. 

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

South Africa

In 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. The country is often suffering from power cuts due to lack of generating capacity and routine maintenance, but the situation has imporced since mid 2021. From February 2022 covid cases have begun to drop. 

In Mozambique, Renamo insurgents are stepping up activity, attacks have been focused in the Sofala Province and have steadily increased since 2018 with indications in 2020 that attacks may intensify. However, of much greater concerning is the escalating security situation in the northern Cabo Dalgado province where islamist fighters are attacking villages and government forces. The FCDO advises against all travel to this area. The Mozambique goverenment, despite using services of international private security providers, is struggling to contain the violence. It is asessed that over 200,000 people have fled the area and in January 2021 a cholera outbreak just added to the misery.  

Kenya

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 September 2013, Al Shabaab killed 67 people in an attack on the Westgate Shopping Centre in downtown Nairobi and 150 students were killed in a co-ordinated attack on Garissa University on 3 April 2015. The latest attack was on 15 January 2019 when at least 14 people were killed in an Al Shabab attack on the DusitD2 hotel in Nairobi. Travellers are reminded to be vigilant and to avoid crowded areas.  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.

President Museveni has been re-elected as Uganda's president and sworn in again on 12 May 2016. Uganda has seen a significant increse in the cases of Malaria in mid 2019.

Egypt

Terrorism is an issue with attacks in the Sinai but also in Cairo and Luxur. The government under Presidient Sisi is highly authoritarian and the freedom of speech has been curbed.  Visitors need to be cautious, respect local customs and seek advise before travelling away from normal visitor areas.  All foreign journalists will be strictly controlled and will need to use a local fixer and get permisssion to film. Egypt hosts the Cup of African Nations from 7 to 30 June 2019.

On 11 April, there was a military coup in Sudan against President Omar al Bishar who was removed after years in control. The situation in the country will remain unstable for some time. The military took over prompting widespread onging protests as of 20 April demanding civilian rule. In mid May 2019 the new military government indicated a programme to hand over to civilian rule within 3 years. Violence rerupted at the beginning of June as signs that the military government is not going to hand over power. Over 50 people were reported killed on 4 June 2019. The country remains in a volitile state.

Ethiopia

The country is now on the verge of an all out civil war as rebels, inlcuding those from Tigray, descend on the capital Addis. Expect the fighting to intensify and the long term unity of the country is in doubt. The situation in Tigray remains highly volatile with continued fighting.

Sudan

The overthrow of President Bashir and his subsequent arrest, largely inspired by civilian protests, has raised the hopes of some stability in this war ravaged country. However the military staged another coup in October 2021 placing a puppet civil president, Abdella Hamdok in charge who in turn was forced to resign on 2 Jan 2022 following mass protests in Khartom. The military are now backin full control.  The FCDO advices agaist travel to most of the west and south of Sudan due to conflict in Chad and South Sudan.  Relations between South Sudan and Sudan will remain tense despite recent improvements.  

Nigeria

Nigeria continues in its effort to combat the advances of the Islamist terror group Boko Haram. Great care must be taken when visiting the northern areas. Travellers should study the maps on the FCDO website to see which areas they, the FCDO, advise against travel to.

Gambia

Held a presidential election in December 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 January 2017. President elect Barrow has now taken over.

Zimbabwe

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 was showing signs of improving due to the changed political situation. Background, in October 2017 the Army intervened and removed President Mugabe and November 2017 Mugabe's deputy and long time ally Emmerson Mngangagwa was sworn in promising a economic era.  Presidential elections took place on 30th July 2018, and Zanu PF were declared winners. The economy remains very weak, many basic food supplies are in shortage. In early January 2019, petrol prices increased dramatically causing street protests. The government has responded with force and shut down social media, further civil unrest is very likely.  In early 2018 and in September 2018 an outbreak of cholera caused deaths in Harare and health services has been under furthere pressure due to Covid.

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

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.  In 2018, an outbreak occurred in Mbandaka, DRC and although deaths occurrred it was well contanined on 24 July 2018 it was declared over. However, in early August 2018 a new Ebola outbreak occurred in NE DRC, in the Kivu area in the Oicha District. It's a remote and troubled area so it maybe harder for the WHO and local health authorities to control the outbreak, as of mid July 2019, there have been over 2000 cases and over 1500 deaths.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

The DRC has seen a huge amount of violence over the last 30 years and great care must be taken when visiting, especially in the eastern areas of this enormous country. The Kivu District, is largely a conflict zones with rival militias operating at will. Since mid 2018, there has been an Ebola outbreak in the north, the WHO is deploying resources to control the outbreak but their efforts are being hampered in the conflict areas. Countrywide elections were held on 30 December 2018 and on 9 January 2019 it was announced that the opposition party candidate Felix Tshisekedi had won, surprising many as he was behind in the polls. A period of unrest likely as many believe the vote was rigged as Tshisekedi is seen as an ally of former president Kabila.

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