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Ecuador Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The ruling Alianza PAIS (AP) party secured an agreement with right-of-centre opposition parties to retain the presidency of the National Assembly (NA) when it reopened on 14 May. In return CREO and the Partido Sociedad Patriótica 21 de Enero have each secured a (NA) vice-presidency. The reorganisation has sidelined legislators loyal to former president Rafael Correa and increases the likelihood of commitments made as part of the USD4.2-billion International Monetary Fund (IMF) Extended Fund Facility (EFF) in March 2019 being implemented. In total, Ecuador is seeking USD10.2 billion to support the government’s economic policies until the end of its mandate in 2021. Other contributors include the Development Bank of Latin America (CAF), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the World Bank, and the Latin America Reserve Fund. Of these loans, USD3.7 billion is earmarked for investment projects; the remainder of the funds are at the disposition of the government to spend as it pleases.The USD10.2-billion package is likely to help support the level of Ecuador’s international reserves. This will boost its liquidity position and support dollarisation over the next three years, despite weaker external demand and softer oil prices in 2019–21. Ecuador’s government financing needs amount to approximately USD8.0 billion for 2019. The government’s fiscal adjustment strategy has already facilitated a fiscal deficit reduction from 5.5% in 2017 to 3.0% in 2018. Further austerity measures to reduce fiscal deficit are highly likely, but economic growth will be hurt.In March, Girón municipality in Azuay Province held a referendum in which voters voted against allowing mining projects within their jurisdiction. The new prefect also plans to hold a province-wide referendum on extractive industries. These initiatives increase legal uncertainty for projects approved by the central government but opposed locally. Whether the votes are binding and can lead to project cancellations is likely to depend on a ruling by the Constitutional Court.
Last update: June 11, 2019

Operational Outlook

Public and private labour strikes are likely to increase in frequency in 2019 as a result of the government’s commitment to reduce the public wage bill by USD1 billion and pass reforms to make the labour market more flexible. However, trade unions are relatively weak and are prohibited from engaging in strikes in ‘strategic sectors’ including hydrocarbons, electricity, and telecommunications. 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 solicitation risks.

Last update: April 25, 2019

Terrorism

Elevated

There is 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 the Esmeraldas, and to a lesser extent, Sucumbíos provinces. In 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 (IED) attacks against state security forces. In response, the Ecuadorian and Colombian governments have increased military co-operation along the border, killing the alleged leader of the group in December 2018.

Last update: June 21, 2019

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

High

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

Severe

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

Severe

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

Transportation

Elevated

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

Climate

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

Electricity

Voltage: 120-127 V ~ 60 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019