Elections lead to increased risk for African business travellers

Elections across Africa in 2018 and 2019 are leading to an elevated risk of unrest, according to global risk, security and crisis management consultancy, Drum Cussac.

Looking at the period from January to May 2018, Drum Cussac’s RiskMonitor report says: “Entrenched leadership will continue to figure prominently in sub-Saharan Africa’s political landscape. The continent is home to several of the world’s longest ruling heads of states, and efforts by some leaders in recent years to prolong their stay in office have been met with increasing resistance, to varying degrees of success,” reads the report, adding that it is in central and eastern Africa where the erosion of term limits has been the most visible.

Burundi and the DRC have seen a “significant deterioration in their security environments as a result of violence triggered by their respective presidents’ refusal to relinquish power”. The report states: “The situation in both countries could still get worse; there are concerns that the dual political crises could reignite ethno-political rivalries across borders that destabilised much of the region during the late 1990s and early 2000s. There is little hope of an external fix; sanctions and aid suspension by the international community have largely failed to alter either regime’s behaviour, while major players in the region are facing their own challenges to democracy.”

Resistance to Cameroon’s leadership is also likely to result increased risk of unrest. “The violence has primarily consisted of attacks against security forces, but separatists have also resorted to kidnappings, targeting both local and foreign nationals,” states the report, which predicts that the situation is unlikely to improve in the run-up to October’s presidential election.

Closer to home, in Zimbabwe, the report says instability following the de facto coup has kept the political risk high. “However, a period of stability following successful elections in the latter half of 2019 would allow us to decrease the political risk rating somewhat.”

The report also says: “In South Africa, efforts by the African National Congress to revive a stagnating economy and move away from President Jacob Zuma and his scandals ahead of elections in 2019 may be complicated by in-fighting and resistance from Zuma loyalists to newly elected party leader, President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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