Travelling in Africa 19th March 2019

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.  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. Since summer 2107 there has been an increase on robberies of business travellers on the road between OR Tambo airport and the city center. 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 2018 winter rains have arrived and the situation is improving. Malaria cases have increased since mid 2018, especaily in the Limpopo & Mpumalanga district.

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 Sept 2013 Al Shabaab killed 67 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. The latest attack was on 15 January 2109 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.  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.

Egypt

Terrorism is an issue with attacks in the Sinai but also in Cairo and Luxur. The government under Presidient Sisi is highly authoiritarian and the freedom of speech has been curbed.  Vistiors 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.   

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. Elections are scheduled on 22 February 2019, security will be tight with the risk that Boko Haram will attempt to disrupt the election. 

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 saw a serious outbreak of Yellow Fever in 2017 which has killed over 200. 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 was showing signs of improving due to the changed political situation. Bysay of 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 delared winners. The economy remains very weak, many basic food supplies are in shortage. In early January 2019 petrol prices increase 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 are under extreme pressure due to the economic situation. Eastern Zimbabwe suffered from flooding due to storm Idai in March 2019.  

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 and further progress has been made to 'mend fences' between the countries.

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 is occuring in NE DRC, in the Kivu area in the Oicha district. Its a remote and troubled area so it maybe harder for the WHO and local health authorities to control the outbreak.

The Democtratic Of Congo (DRC) has seen a huge amount of violence over the last 30 years and great care must be taken when visitinging, 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 there effots are being hampered in the conflict areas. Countrywide election 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 may occur as many people believe in the DRC believe the vote was rigged as Tshisekedi is seen as an ally of former president Kabila. 

Southern Africa has for a number of years been experiencing severe drought conditions, however rains in early 2017 and 2018 will hopefully help the country to recover. 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 2018 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. Storm Idai caused very serious damage to the city of Beira in mid march 2019 killing over 150 people, perhaps more. 

Gabon, on 6th January 2019 Army officers staged an unsuccessful coup against the absent president Ali Bongo. 

 

 

 

 

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