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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

An attack on a café in Ouagadougou in August 2017, killing 18, underscores the continuing high risk to foreigners and soft targets by jihadist groups, due to Burkina Faso's involvement in regional counter-terrorism efforts. Security forces are struggling to deal with increasing Islamist militancy following the creation of a homegrown jihadist group, Ansarul-Islam, with northern Soum province a particular hotspot. The impunity of Koglweogo self-defence militias adds to the general insecurity. President Kaboré is struggling to find solutions to economic hardship, leading to a rise in protests and labour unrest, although he is to circulate a draft constitution in 2018 marking the new fifth republic, which limits presidential terms to two. The country remains heavilydependent on mining, which accounts for around 20% of GDP, mostly through gold.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Operational Outlook

Government austerity measures have resulted in increased industrial action, particularly in the public sector, which will likely continue as long as the measures persist. The prime minister has said the government cannot afford to raise salaries or cut fuel prices, and domestic taxation has increased. The government has taken some measures to combat corruption, particularly in the judiciary. Increased jihadist attacks, including two fatal attacks in the capital and a growing insurgency in the north, create an insecure operating environment.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Burkina Faso's involvement in operations against Islamist militants in the Sahel has raised terrorism risks, as evidenced on 13 August 2017 when jihadists attacked a restaurant in Ouagadougou, killing 18 people, some 18 months after an earlier attack in the capital by al-Mourabitoune group in January 2016. The country is a contributor to the UN Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), and the regional G-5 Sahel counter-terrorism force. Kidnap and attack risks in the north have increased after jihadist group Ansarul-Islam began staging assaults near Mali's border, prompting joint counter-insurgency operations in the area.

Last update: March 27, 2018

War Risks

Elevated

Two terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, and a growing jihadist insurgency in the north, increase the risk of Burkina Faso being caught up in a wider Sahel conflict. Civil war risks have abated following a short-lived coup by the now-disbanded Presidential Guard in September 2015. Inter-state war risk is minimal due to close counter-terrorism cooperation with neighbours, and any border disputes will almost certainly be resolved through arbitration as the issues are primarily administrative. Strained relations with Côte d'Ivoire over involvement in the coup attempt have been repaired.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Social Stability

Very high

Social unrest in Burkina Faso is increasing over the government's austerity measures, which include cutting public spending and raising domestic taxes despite a rapidly rising cost of living. Security forces are overwhelmed by growing insecurity, which has also triggered protests. Community protests against mining firms over social investment and employment demands can occur, with risk of damage to mining equipment. Powerful civil society groups that played major roles in mobilising against former president Blaise Compaoré are likely to incite anti-government demonstrations.

Last update: March 27, 2018

Health Risk

Severe

Vaccinations required to enter the country

Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required if traveling from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission and over nine months of age and for travelers who have been in transit in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission. 

Routine Vaccinations

Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.

Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.

Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).

Other Vaccinations

Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).

Rabies: For prolonged stays in an isolated region (for children from when they can walk).

Meningococcal Meningitis: For prolonged stays, or in case your travels will put you in close contact with a local population affected by an epidemic of the disease (for children over the age of two years).

Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - chloroquine and proguanil (sometimes marketed as Paludrine ) or proguanil and atovaquone (sometimes marketed as Mepron).

For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.

Last update: June 1, 2016

Natural Risks

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: February 13, 2018

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: February 13, 2018

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: February 13, 2018

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: November 20, 2013