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Burkina Faso Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly in Burkina Faso, which as of late March had the highest number in West Africa. The government, which has concentrated resources on defence to counter the expansion of jihadist attacks, has neither the health infrastructure nor personnel capacity to prevent the spread of the virus. A dramatic rise in the COVID-19 infection rate would likely lead the government to declare a national emergency and postpone the presidential election in November 2020, and increase the risk of a military takeover. US and French warnings not to travel to Burkina Faso highlight the deteriorating security situation, with six of the country's 13 regions under a state of emergency, and mining companies at particular risk from jihadist attacks.In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has imposed a ban on public gatherings until at least 30 April, which reduces the short-term risk of anti-government protests. Strike action against government austerity measures is likely to persist, however. The Burkinabé economy should benefit from improved budgetary execution, with spending aligned with the government’s latest five-year national economic and social development strategy (PNDES). Under the plan, public investment is set to increase further as a share of GDP in 2020, with a continued focus on mining, infrastructure, and utility projects. However, there remains uncertainty about the government’s ability to expand investment spending as planned, with a more gradual increase much more likely next year.The economy continues to be highly susceptible to external shocks, especially to volatile global price trends in cotton and gold. Although gold prices have remained above historical averages, any significant decline would dampen foreign exchange earnings from the sector. Foreign investments in what represents Africa's fourth-largest gold mining industry also will be deterred by the recent deterioration in terrorism and security risks.
Last update: March 27, 2020

Operational Outlook

Austerity measures, including increased domestic taxation, and insecurity continue to drive industrial action and protests as government resources are diverted to defence. Frequent jihadist attacks, which have spread across much of the country, including three fatal attacks in the capital, Ouagadougou, create uncertainty for commercial companies, particularly in the mining sector. President Kaboré has extended a state of emergency in six of the country’s 13 regions.

Last update: March 17, 2020

Terrorism

Very high

Terrorism risks continue to increase as security forces struggle to prevent the spread of jihadist insurgencies across the country, with military bases highly vulnerable to attack. A state of emergency has been extended in six out of 13 regions. The capital, Ouagadougou, suffered three jihadist assaults during 2016–18, in which a total of 60 people were killed, and there is a high risk of further attacks. Kidnap and attack risks are particularly high in northern, central, and eastern Burkina Faso, where mining companies are increasingly being targeted. Attacks against churches and Christian religious leaders since May 2019 highlight the likelihood of jihadists stoking division through sectarianism.

Last update: March 17, 2020

Crime

Jihadist attacks have spread rapidly across the country since 2018, and violent crime is on the increase countrywide and in the capital, Ouagadougou, driven by political instability and economic hardship. Terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou in 2016, 2017, and 2018 indicate the ongoing risk of Islamist militant attacks in the capital. A self-defence vigilante group known as the Koglwéogo operates with impunity, particularly in eastern areas, extorting and punishing alleged criminals and posing threats to commercial vehicles.

Last update: March 17, 2020

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low due to Burkina Faso's close counter-terrorism co-operation with neighbouring countries, and any border disputes will almost certainly be resolved through arbitration as the issues are primarily administrative. The uncontrolled spread of terrorism and government austerity measures are triggers for protests and demonstrations, which increases civil war risks. Civil war risks will be exacerbated if demoralised soldiers, overwhelmed by growing insecurity, join protesters on the streets.

Last update: March 17, 2020

Social Stability

Very high

The government's inability to overcome terrorism and reverse austerity measures continues to trigger protests, often attended by thousands of people. Anti-French demonstrations are also gaining momentum in view of the continued insecurity. Protests, which for the most part are peaceful, will likely escalate in the lead-up to 2020’s presidential election, spearheaded by the opposition and civil society groups. Public spending has been cut and domestic taxes increased despite a rapidly rising cost of living, which raises the risk of protests turning violent.

Last update: March 17, 2020

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for travelers arriving from countries with risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease; it should be taken ten days in advance to be fully effective.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for all travelers.

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Malaria: There is currently no malaria vaccine. However, various antimalarial prophylactics are available by prescription and can reduce risk of infection by up to 90 percent. Different medications are prescribed depending on the risk level and the strains of the virus present in the destination. Antimalarial tablets need to be taken throughout the trip to be effective and may need to be taken for as long as four weeks following the trip.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Meningococcal meningitis: There are several types of meningococcal vaccines. None offer full immunity and some require periodic booster shots. Consult your doctor to determine which is best for you depending on medical history and travel plans.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Very high

The rainy season spans from June to October. During this time, there is often major flooding, including in Ouagadougou. Over 10,000 people (including four deaths) were affected by torrential rain from June to August 2016.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

High

The poor state of the country's road infrastructure, which worsens during the rainy season, makes driving a challenge in Burkina Faso. It is particularly challenging to drive on the widely-used highway between Ouagadougou and Pô. Traveling by car in-between cities can be quite dangerous. Hazardous driving habits by the locals (speeding, overtaking, vehicles badly-maintained, heavy loads, drunk driving, etc.) increase the risk. Traveling by night is strictly advised against due to the lack of street lighting and road signs. In the event of a road collision, it is advised to remain on site until emergency services arrive.

Outside of urban areas, all travel should be conducted during the day, in a convoy of several ATV vehicles (4x4) and with sufficient water, food, and fuel reserves. It is also advised to make sure that the vehicle is fitted with spare pieces (tires, cables, etc.) and is equipped with appropriate means of communication (two-way radio, satellite telephone, etc.). Travel between Bobo Dioulasso and Ivory Coast, as well as Fada and Benin or Togo is strongly advised against due to accidents being regularly reported. Be extremely vigilant when traveling to Niger; in convoys, it is best to be accompanied by the police.

Highway bandits are present in the country, particularly in secluded area in the east, are usually armed, and potentially violent. Never resist if assaulted: assailants tend to resort to violence, which is sometimes deadly. Deaths during assaults have been reported in the past.

Using public transportation is advised against, with the exception of yellow taxis, which offer reliable services.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Infrastructure

Authorities regularly impose water cuts, particularly since the water shortage crisis that started in 2013; the situation has recently become more acute, due largely to the growing population in Ouagadougou (+6 percent in 2015) combined with the abnormally high temperatures that were reported in February 2016. As of May 2016, the government implemented a rotating water rationing program in Ouagadougou, whereby rolling 12-hour water cuts are to be anticipated until further notice in the following neighborhoods: Bangpoore, Bassinko, Gounghin Nord, Hamdalaye, Kamboinsin, Kilwin, Kologh Nossin, Kossodo, Larlé, Markoussi, Naaba, Ouidin, Pabre, Rimkieta Bissighin, Signoghin, Somgandé, Tampouy, Tanghin, Toessin, Toudebweogin, Yagma, and Gounghin industrial zone.

The phone network is not very reliable, especially outside of urban areas.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The majority of country belongs to what is commonly known as the Tropical Sudanese Zone;  the north of the country, on the other hand, falls in the Sahel Zone. The country experiences two distinct seasons: the dry season - which lasts approximately eight months - and the rainy season (winter) which lasts from mid-June until mid-October. March, April, and May are the hottest months of the year, with temperatures more or less permanently over 40°C. Between November and February a northerly wind, the Harmattan, brings cooler and drier air. Conditions during these months are temperate and pleasant, with daytime temperatures between 25°C and 30°C and cooler nights.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +226
International Medical Center (24/7): (00.226) 70.20.00.00
Police: 17
Fire Dept.: 18
Gendarmerie: (00.226) 80.00.11.45 / 50.30.62.71
In case of highway robbers attack: 10.10

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019