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Country Reports

Burkina Faso Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

Jihadist groups are focusing on poor intelligence and security deficiencies in Burkina Faso to destabilise the Sahel region. Attacks continue to spread, and President Kaboré has declared a state of emergency in six of the country's 13 regions. Domestic security forces are struggling to contain the violence, which contributed to the government's resignation in January 2019. The current government’s focus is on restoring security, while reassuring investors, particularly in the increasingly targeted mining sector. Previous terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, including against the army headquarters and French embassy, underscore high risks for foreigners and diplomatic, military, and government personnel. Sectarian attacks pose risks to churches and religious leaders. Government stability is at further risk from increasingly frequent strikes and protests against austerity measures. Lawyers, health workers, and civil servants have all staged strikes during 2019. Kaboré is also under pressure from protests by powerful civil society groups, which played a major part in the 2014 downfall of former president Blaise Compaoré, with civil war risks increasing if unmotivated soldiers join the protests. The Burkinabé economy should benefit from improved budget 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 2019, 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: September 17, 2019

Operational Outlook

Austerity measures, including increased domestic taxation, have resulted in growing industrial action and protests, which are likely to intensify as government resources are further diverted to defence. Frequent jihadist attacks, which are spreading 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 declared a state of emergency in six of the country's 13 regions and imposed a reporting ban on counter-terrorism operations.

Last update: June 29, 2019

Terrorism

Very high

Terrorism has become a major challenge, leading to the appointment of a new government in January 2019. Security forces are struggling to prevent the spread of jihadist insurgencies across the country, and a state of emergency has been declared in six out of 13 regions. The capital, Ouagadougou, suffered three attacks during 2016–18, in which a total of 60 people were killed. Kidnap and attack risks are very high, particularly in the north and east, 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: June 29, 2019

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. The police identified 15 localities in the capital as crime-prone, especially at night given the poor lighting and lack of patrols. Terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou in 2016, 2017, and 2018 indicate the heightened threat of militant attacks to the capital. A self-defence 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: September 24, 2019

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 as well as government austerity measures are triggers for protests and demonstrations, increasing civil war risks.

Last update: June 29, 2019

Social Stability

Very high

Unless the new government appointed in January 2019 finds ways to overcome terrorism and reverse austerity measures, anti-government protests will escalate particularly 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. Civil war risks will increase if demoralised soldiers, overwhelmed by growing insecurity, join protesters on the streets. Incidents of inter-communal violence, which triggered protests in the main cities of Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso in January 2019, are also likely to be exploited by jihadist groups.

Last update: June 29, 2019

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