(This is the second part of a column on business travel to Africa. To read the first part, click here)
It is hard to generalise the security situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. Tim Willis of Travel Security Services (TSS) points to the criminality concerns in Nairobi, Freetown and Johannesburg, separatist activity in Nigeria and various political situations in others. For many, going to the continent for the first time, fear of the unknown will be the pressing factor. The key is to keep abreast of current situation in countries where events such as elections can have a significant bearing on the security situation.
For anyone travelling to a high-risk city, Willis recommends that a trusted local guide or security provider be used to support their visit, and to ensure they have arranged to be met on arrival by their local hotel or trusted local contact at the airport.
There is, of course, the danger of taking perceived security threats too seriously. I remember when my family moved to Port Moresby, PNG in the mid 1990s. We had lived in “edgy” places before (Freetown in Sierra Leone, Nairobi), but the security manager’s detailed description of the potential dangers that could befall us terrified my mother and I to the extent that we cowered in our hotel room for days before summoning up the courage to go out. Of course with sensible precautions we had no problems whatsoever.