Central African Republic Country Report
Escalating militia fighting and attacks against civilians in most parts of CAR threaten government stability, although Russian military protection for President Touadéra reduces assassination risks. Touadéra is reaching out to Russia and China for security co-operation and likely closer financial ties. After lengthy delays, CAR's Special Criminal Court is to start its first investigations into war crimes. Looting and attack risks to foreign NGOs and their employees are high, while UN peacekeepers are being drawn directly into the conflict. Militia fighting poses high disruption risks to cargo movements and UN convoys. The partial lifting of the diamond export ban faces elevated risk of retraction due to militias' ongoing control of mines in the north and centre-east, anda new armed group in the hitherto stable southwest diamond-producing areas.
CAR is landlocked and composed of dense equatorial forests in the south and savannah in the north, and is subject to humid, tropical weather in the centre. Despite President Touadéra's pledge to fight corruption and attract investment, bureaucratic inertia is a serious problem across the public sector and business environment, with frequent strikes mostly in demand of salary arrears. The main impediment to investment is spiralling insecurity, with 80% of the country under control of militias operating by their own rules. Corruption and weak infrastructure increase the cost of starting a business.
Militia groups control 80% of the country, and in April 2018 a new armed group known as Siriri emerged in the relatively stable southwest. Anti-Balaka and ex-Séléka groups are fractured and fighting is both sectarian and ethnic. UN peacekeepers are struggling to restore security, with the areas around Batangafo, Kaga Bandoro, Bria, Bambari, Bangassou, and Zemio particularly at risk. Sectarian fighting has returned to the capital, Bangui, where 16 people died following an attack on a church in May 2018. The risk of Islamist terrorist attacks is low, however.
The spread of militia violence heightens the risk of civil war and the UN mission MINUSCA is increasingly hard pushed to contain the conflict. Risks of grenade and gun attacks against UN convoys and NGO workers are escalating, with Kaga Bandoro, Batangafo, Bria, Bambari, and Bangassou particular hotspots. In Bangui, patrols face particular risks in the PK5 neighbourhood, although M'poko airport is now more secure. Russia is training CAR's armed forces, although they are unlikely to be effective in at least the six-month outlook. Interstate war is unlikely.
Anger over MINUSCA's perceived inability to restore security is likely to drive public protests against the UN and the government in volatile cities like Kaga-Bandoro, Bambari, Bria, Batangafo, and Bangassou, as well as the capital, Bangui. Protests against vigilante groups are likely to halt commercial activity in parts of Bangui, while discord over the peace process will continue to fuel sectarian unrest between rival militias. Anti-government protests and strikes over unpaid salaries are highly likely in urban areas.
Vaccines Required to Enter the Country
Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is required for all travelers upon entry to the country. 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
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).
The rainy season (which lasts 6 months) causes widespread floods, material damage, and deaths.
Much of the country's road infrastructure is obsolete, insufficient, partially degraded, or even nonexistent.
The three main paved roads starting in Bangui are in poor condition. One leads to Mbaïki (100 km [60 mi]), another to Sibut (200 km [120 mi]), and a large part of the route toward Bouar and Cameroon. During the rainy season (May to October), the roads often become impassable.
The danger of road travel has increased due to the lack of adherence to road regulations, the poor condition of many of the vehicles, and the lack of health facilities. The absence of street lighting and traffic lights makes traveling at night inadvisable. Road accidents resulting in fatalities may provoke riots.
Outside of major cities, travel by road should be only take place during the day in a sports utility vehicle (4x4), with a driver, preferably in convoy. Individuals should also travel with extra water, food, and fuel. It is advisable to ensure that your vehicle is equipped with replacement parts (spare tires, cables, etc.) as well as telecommunications devises. Individuals should carry identification papers at all times (passport and visa). During travel in the capital, it is advisable to communicate the details of one's travel arrangements to a trusted confidant.
Intercity travel via road can prove dangerous. Official and unofficial roadblocks are frequent. Furthermore it is recommended to remain vigilant when traveling in isolated regions; cases of armed theft, carjacking, and the presence of bandits have been reported across the country.
The airlines MINAIR, Via Air, and Lapara offer flights to the cities in the center of the country, as long as the region is secure. There are daily flights operated by several international airlines from Douala (Cameroon). Air France operates a weekly, direct flight.
Due to the degradation of the energy network in the previous conflict, there are frequent power and water cuts in the country.
Mobile telephone signals cover the Bangui area as well as a significant part of the interior of the country.
The climate in the north of the country is Sahelian (tropical and semi-arid). The climate in the south is tropical, hot, and humid. The rainy season begins in May and ends in October.
|Bangui Central Police Station:||21 61 13 00|
There are no emergency services in the CAR.
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz