Country Reports

Ecuador Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

Lenín Moreno’s government is attempting to restore business confidence after a debt default and oil sector nationalisation eroded trust in the previous Rafael Correa administration (2006-2016). In June 2018, the government introduced a package of fiscal incentives for new investments, including corporate tax breaks for up to 15 years in targeted locations and the gradual elimination of currency export tax. Moreno’s minority government relies on the support of centre-right opposition parties which provide ideological support for strong private sector involvement in the economy. The government is actively seeking new foreign investment in hydrocarbons and mining and is seeking to close seven of the country’s 22 state owned enterprises, reducing its exposure to the public construction, pharmaceutical, and manufacturing sectors. New telecoms legislation to be passed in 2019 will increase market access for private media providers and reduce local content requirements in advertising. The risk of contract renegotiation and cancellation is decreasing but remains elevated due to high public debt, corruption investigations into contracts signed by the previous Correa administration and judicial interventions affecting the mining sector. The government is negotiating new loan terms with bilateral lenders – including making early debt repayments – as well as settling debt owed to oil service providers. It is also seeking to restore bilateral investment treaties rescinded by the previous administration. The economy is projected to grow 1.8% in 2019, supported by higher oil prices. Public debt remains high at 46% of GDP or USD48 billion, rising to USD59 billion if obligations such as oil-for-loan obligations are included. The budget deficit in 2018 is projected at 5%. Combined with the country’s dollarised economy and reliance on the oil sector for tax revenue, private investment and access to foreign exchange, growing debt burdens leave the economy vulnerable to external shocks, particularly a downward adjustment in oil prices. © 2018, IHS Markit Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.
Last update: November 15, 2018

Operational Outlook

Labour strikes are unlikely to pose major operational disruption in 2019. Trade unions are relatively weak and are prohibited from engaging in strikes in ‘strategic sectors’ including hydrocarbons, electricity, and telecommunications. Risks of disruptive protests, strikes, and demonstrations have also been falling as a result of overtures to labour movements and indigenous organisations by President Lenín Moreno, although protests against fuel rises in August 2018 indicate labour support is not unconditional. Corruption remains a significant risk at all levels of the government and civil service, although a high-profile government crackdown on such illicit practices has brought greater political attention to the issue, helping to reduce bribery solicitationrisks.

Last update: November 20, 2018



There will be an isolated risk of terrorism incidents along the Colombian border in 2019. Dissidents of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC) – considered criminals in Colombia but described as terrorists by the Ecuadorian government – continue to operate in Esmeraldas, and to a lesser extent Sucumbíos provinces. In April 2018, the dissident ‘Oliver Sinisterra front’, of about 80 people, kidnapped and killed three Ecuadorian journalists in Esmeraldas. The group has also been responsible for several improvised explosive device attacks in 2018 against state security forces. In response, the Ecuadorian and Colombian governments have increased military co-operation along the border.

Last update: November 21, 2018

War Risks

Civil and interstate war risks will remain low in 2019. Troop deployments are likely to be limited to addressing violent protests and frustrating the activities of illegal armed groups operating along the Colombian border, including Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) dissidents. Since early 2018 the government has deployed additional military personnel to the Colombian border following several improvised explosive device attacks against state security forces in Esmeraldas province by FARC dissidents. Relations with Peru remain cordial despite the temporary recall of Peru’s ambassador in objection to the building of a border wall in 2017.

Last update: March 26, 2019

Social Stability


Plans to increase investment in hydrocarbons and mining-related projects bring ongoing risks of social protests. However, such risks have declined under the Moreno administration, which has made some moves to address concerns of the indigenous lobby CONAIE and to restrict extractive-sector developments on community land. A February 2018 referendum promised new restrictions on mining and hydrocarbons activities. However, co-operation between the government and CONAIE has become increasingly strained by ongoing austerity measures, including public-sector redundancies and a rise in gasoline (petrol) prices that will continue to be met by protests, causing transport disruption in major cities.

Last update: January 25, 2019

Health Risk


Vaccines required to enter the country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

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.

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.

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.

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).

Yellow fever: A yellow fever vaccination certificate is generally recommended for travelers to the following regions: areas over 2300 m (7500 ft) in elevation east of the Andes Mountains in the provinces of Morona-Santiago, Napo, Orellana, Pastaza, Sucumbios, and Zamora-Chinchipe. 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.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks


Ecuador is vulnerable to a number of natural disasters due to its location along the Pacific "Ring of Fire," a highly active seismic zone. Some 24 "active" or "potentially active" volcanoes are present in the country, in particular Cotopaxi, Sangay, Tungurahua, and Reventador, all of which erupt relatively often. Always heed instructions issued by local authorities when in the vicinity of volcanoes.

Similarly, earthquakes are common and can cause largescale damage and transportation disruptions, especially if landslides occur. In April 2016, a powerful earthquake with a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale struck the northwest of the country, killing hundreds of people and leaving major material and infrastructural damages in its wake. More than a year later, the region is still in recovery. Offshore earthquakes also create the risk of tsunamis in coastal regions; in the event of such an earthquake, follow all instructions issued by local authorities (such as evacuation orders).

Flooding can occur year round but is particularly frequent during the rainy season, which begins in October and lasts until April/May, although this varies slightly by region.

Last update: April 5, 2019



When using taxis, use only licensed companies and avoid hailing taxis off the street. Drive with doors locked and windows rolled up.

Criminals frequently target intra- and inter-city buses, many of which are overcrowded and poorly maintained. Use secured buses, identifiable by a sticker placed on the sides and the windshield of the vehicle; these buses are equipped with surveillance cameras and a GPS system that allows local authorities to respond quickly in the event of a problem.

In any case, be vigilant when on buses, on which theft and other more serious crimes are regularly reported. It is advisable to avoid taking buses after sundown, particularly in the regions of Manabí and Guayas.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information


Ecuador's climate is, unsurprisingly, largely equatorial. Along the coast temperatures and humidity levels are high throughout the year. Rain is more abundant in the period between December and April as well as in the north as compared to the south. Days are generally hot and nights cool, with little variation in temperatures from season to season.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +593
Emergency Services: 911


Voltage: 120-127 V ~ 60 Hz


Last update: April 5, 2019