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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

Security forces are struggling to contain increasing terrorist attacks that pose a major challenge to the stability of President Kaboré's government. Local jihadist group Ansarul-Islam operates in northern Soum province, while the spread of attacks to the east indicates a new jihadist cell in that region. Terrorist attacks in Ouagadougou, including the targeting of army headquarters and the French embassy, underscore high risks to foreigners and diplomatic, military, and government personnel. Civil society groups, trade unions, and opposition parties accuse the government of growing corruption and are mobilising against economic hardship and the lack of security. A referendum on a new constitution limiting presidential terms to two, is to be held in March 2019. The countryremains heavily dependent on gold mining, which accounts for three-quarters of exports.

Last update: October 17, 2018

Operational Outlook

Government austerity measures have resulted in increased industrial action, particularly in the public sector, which is likely to intensify as government resources are diverted to defence. The prime minister has said the government cannot afford to raise salaries or cut fuel prices, and domestic taxation has increased. Opposition parties and civil society groups claim government corruption is on the increase. Frequent jihadist attacks, including three fatal attacks in the capital and growing insurgencies in the north and east, create an insecure operating environment.

Last update: October 17, 2018

Terrorism

Very high

Terrorism has become a major challenge for the government, with security forces struggling to prevent the spread of jihadist insurgencies. The capital Ouagadougou has suffered three attacks between 2016–18, in which a total of 60 people were killed. Kidnap and attack risks are high in the northern Soum province, where local jihadist group Ansarul-Islam has mounted an insurgency near the Malian border. Increased attacks in the Est region pose risks to mining operations, and indicate the establishment of a new jihadist cell that will likely extend the area of operations for French counter-terrorism troops.

Last update: October 17, 2018

War Risks

Civil war risks have risen following a major opposition demonstration in September 2018 against terrorism, government corruption, and austerity measures, and more anti-government protests are likely in the coming months. Inter-state war risk is minimal due to 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. Strained relations with Côte d'Ivoire over involvement in the 2015 coup attempt have been repaired.

Last update: October 17, 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 triggered a major, but peaceful, opposition demonstration in September 2018. 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 further anti-government demonstrations.

Last update: October 17, 2018

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: October 12, 2018

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: 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