Eritrea Country Report
Despite renewing sanctions in November 2017, the UN acknowledged there was no evidence of Eritrean support for Somalia's al-Shabaab militants, indicating a future easing of the embargo. The "no peace, no war" stalemate with Ethiopia continues, although the United States has offered to facilitate peace talks. Eritrea's strategic location has helped it emerge from years of diplomatic isolation, with close ties developing with China, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates. War risks on the disputed Eritrea-Djibouti border increased following the withdrawal of Qatari peacekeepers in June 2017, but there have been no confrontations to date. Risks to foreign investments and contracts are high because of government intervention. Rare protests in October 2017 triggered by the arrest of anIslamic school head highlight increased risks of sporadic unrest.
Eritrea's strategic location and operational environment offer tremendous potential in areas such as mining, tourism, and fishing. However, the absence of a clearly defined legal system, poor infrastructure, abundant red tape, and scarce energy makes operating difficult. Foreigners continue to face severe restrictions to their movements, complicating daily activities. Corruption is also a growing problem undermining private-sector activity. Eritrea's highly centralised government is considered more of a hindrance than a facilitator to doing business, despite its oft-stated commitment to attracting foreign investment, and allegations of forced labour increase reputational risks for foreign companies.
Sustained terrorism risks are minimal, but low-level attacks by armed opposition groups pose a threat to foreign companies. However, there have been no reported incidents since March 2015 when the rebel Eritrean National Salvation Front (ENSF) vandalised equipment at the Bisha mining project, Eritrea's largest foreign investment, and destroyed trucks transporting cargo from Bisha to Massawa port. Continued small-scale attacks by the ENSF and another rebel group active in the east, the Red Sea Afar Democratic Organisation (RSADO), are likely against foreign and military assets, particularly because the government wants to encourage investment in the mining sector.
Border conflict risks with Djibouti rose in June 2017 after Djibouti accused Eritrea of moving troops into the disputed Dumeira region following the withdrawal of Qatari buffer troops. However Eritrea's main security issue stems from its still-unresolved border dispute with neighbouring Ethiopia, following their 1998–2000 warEthiopia's rejection of an UN-sponsored arbitration body ruling means the two countries are still technically at war, although the US in November 2017 offered to facilitate peace talks. War rhetoric between the two sides is likely to continue, along with sporadic border skirmishes but full war is unlikely.
A rare protest in central Asmara in October 2017, triggered by the arrest of an Islamic school head,highlights increased risks of sporadic social unrest. The government has faced a growing level of opposition domestically in recent years, as suggested by the increasing number of young Eritreans fleeing the country and a mutiny staged by a group of soldiers in January 2013. The government is likely to contain and quickly suppress any potential uprisings, often fuelled and encouraged by Diaspora opposition activists, and swiftly arrest possible troublemakers.
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 one year of age and for travelers who have been in transit >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
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).
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).
Malaria: Recommended preventive medication - mefloquine (sometimes marketed as Lariam) or doxycycline (sometimes marketed as Vibramycin).
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.
Eritrea is situated along the East African Rift, a highly active seismic zone. There is a risk of earthquakes and volcanic activity; the Nabro volcano last erupted in 2011.
Furthermore, there is a heightened risk of flooding during the rainy seasons (January to February and June to August), including along wadis (normally-dry riverbeds). There is also a risk of landslides in the west and in regions of higher elevation from May to August.
The climate along the coast is arid. Heading west to the central highlands, conditions become cooler and more humid. Winters are mild and summers very hot along the Red Sea coast. Precipitation is heaviest in the highlands (lighter rain in March-April, heavier rain from late June until August with the risk of flooding).
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