10 of the most dangerous countries in the world

Risk mitigation is more important than ever with 64% of travel security professionals believing risks faced by business travellers have increased over the last 12 months. For expanding organisations, business travel is a necessity and sometimes involves travelling to higher risk locations. But what are some of the most risky places to travel to in 2018? Below are just some of the countries with an 'extreme' or 'high' Drum Cussac risk rating. Be prepared with our expert advice and analysis for travel to the top 10 most dangerous countries in the world.
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

 


 

Afghanistan

Risk rating: Extreme

Afghanistan is highly mountainous, with more than two-thirds of the country covered by the rugged Hindu Kush mountain range. Their struggling democratic government, whose authority is centred in the capital Kabul, is perceived to rely on US-led coalition support to stay in power. Despite international security assistance, the government is unstable and faces a major threat from a resilient Taliban-led insurgency, which remains in control of many rural areas and has engaged the Kabul government and security forces in a prolonged conflict. Terrorist attacks, insurgent ambushes and a general state of lawlessness pose extreme threats to foreign interests.

Government authority outside of Kabul remains weak and its ability to deliver even basic social services is lacking. The economy rebounded recently largely on the back of funds acquired through international assistance, but remains fragile. The agricultural and service sectors have benefitted the most from international investment and assistance and have been the leading factors in the country’s economic recovery. However, corruption in the public and private sectors remains endemic to the point where it threatens to undermine gains made in the fledgeling economy. 

Advice to businesses and travellers:

  • Hotels and guest houses are regularly targeted. Travellers should stay at reputable hotel with good standards of international-level security, and should avoid hotels that have scheduled high-profile conferences during the stay
  • Hotels should have a safe-haven developed through enhanced door security, and travellers should hold a grab-bag containing minimum essentials.
  • There is a significant threat from terrorism, crime and unrest, and travellers should avoid leaving the hotel, or secure locations without the use of security co-ordinators, where practical

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Burundi

Risk rating: High

Burundi has been embroiled in a political crisis since mid-2015, following President Pierre Nkurunziza’s decision to run for a controversial third term. Although the regime’s systematic repression of dissidents, and the general population’s wariness of another civil war, has prevented the country from falling outright into armed conflict, the security and political environments remain precarious. The main threats to foreign travellers are from pervasive criminal activity, attacks linked to rebel activity, especially in border areas near the DRC, and safety hazards caused by medical and infrastructural deficiencies.

The road network is generally very poor across the country, particularly outside of Bujumbura, making overland travel hazardous and time-consuming. Burundi is also prone to flooding during the rainy seasons, between February and May and between September and November, which has a severe impact on transportation infrastructure in many regions.

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • Travellers should have access to an independent emergency communications system
  • Public transport from Bujumbura International is not considered to be safe for international travellers and private transportation arrangements should be in place at arrival
  • Do not open the door to your hotel room, especially late at night, until you have confirmed the visitor’s identity and meet strangers in the lobby, not in your room.

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Democratic Republic of Congo

Risk rating: High

One of Africa’s largest and most ethnically diverse countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has been wracked by decades of instability and conflict. The country’s eastern and northeastern regions have historically been the most susceptible to insecurity driven by a myriad of rebel movements and other armed groups. Since mid-2016, the central Kasai region has emerged as the latest deadly hotspot, with recurring violence between a local militia and state security forces exacerbating the country’s already dire humanitarian situation. 

Large swathes of the vast country are outside the control of the government, which coupled with limited judiciary capabilities has created an environment conducive for endemic corruption, human rights violations and a culture of impunity. The DRC’s infrastructure, ranging from roads to power supplies and Internet connectivity, is extremely under-developed, which has hindered development, foreign investment and economic growth. 

Advice to businesses and travellers:

  • Travellers should undertake a pre-deployment medical brief, and personal medical information should be recorded. Travellers should also ensure they have sufficient supplies of prescriptions or medicines to cover delays or lack of availability
  • Hotels should be located in areas of town that have not previously witnessed protests or demonstrations, or are not marred by ethnic or political tensions. Ideally, hotels should be away from chokepoints and not surrounded by other high-profile targets
  • Travellers should use only small denominations of the local currency, and keep large amounts of cash and cards in a separate place on your person.

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Haiti

Risk rating: High

Haiti is a highly unstable, developing country in the Caribbean, located on the western half of the island of Hispaniola. Despite a long history of oppressive dictators, the current government was democratically elected, and there are increasing signs of legislative checks on executive authority.

However, political stability remains tenuous, and the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in Haiti (MINUJUSTH) peacekeeping force maintains a presence in the country. Political violence, confrontations between rival gangs and civil unrest pose grave threats to stability, as do unaddressed wealth gaps. Haiti’s economy is highly underdeveloped and has been destroyed by graft, conflict and natural disasters and has unemployment levels of over 60 per cent.

Foreign travellers face pervasive security threats from violent crime, widespread civil unrest and natural disasters in the form of hurricanes and earthquakes. Infrastructure has long been weak throughout the country and was further compromised by the devastating earthquake that struck the capital, Port-au-Prince, in January 2010 as well as Hurricane Matthew, which hit the country’s southern peninsula in October 2016.

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • Corruption is widespread, and travellers should undertake bribery and corruption training before travelling.
  • Travellers should familiarise themselves with local evacuation plans issued by local government or relevant authorities
  • Travellers should seek to register the trip, and maintain regular communications, with the appropriate diplomatic missions in country

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Iraq

Risk rating: High

There a number of threat dynamics in Iraq, including armed conflict, terrorism, civil unrest, crime and environmental, health and medical and transportation hazards. Government forces have retaken control of most of the territory that came under de-facto Kurdish control when the Islamic State (IS) overran northern Iraq in June 2014. Security forces continue to carry out military operations against IS cells in northern and western Iraq with success. There is an extreme risk of terrorism whereby the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), government officials, security installations, public areas and religious events are repeatedly targeted in suicide and car bomb attacks.

The crime threat remains high with reports of criminals and militias kidnapping locals, foreign workers, and members of international organisations and requesting a ransom. Protests over corruption, working conditions and poor service delivery occur throughout Iraq, especially in Baghdad, Basra and Iraqi Kurdistan.  

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • Travellers should ensure that detailed contingency operations, business continuity, crisis management and evacuation plans are in place should the situation in country deteriorate significantly
  • For local and regional air travel, travellers should consider the safety record of the airline selected and whether they are IATA, EU and FAA certified
  • Criminals and terrorists are exploiting reliance on technology. Travellers should implement a comprehensive suite of IT security measures for electronic devices, such as travelling with “clean” devices, ensuring that all personal identifying information and sensitive files are sanitised, and implementing a Full Disk Encryption (FDE)

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Lebanon

Risk rating: High

Situated along the eastern Mediterranean coastline, the Republic of Lebanon is a small state buffeted by regional power struggles, with war-torn Syria to its north and east and Israel to its south. Lebanon is a parliamentary democracy implementing a complex power-sharing system of confessionalism. However, deep-seated sectarian divisions between the country’s Christian, Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslim communities have raised concerns about the prospect of wider conflict in Lebanon. Tensions between regional rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran threaten to destabilise Lebanon on the political level and elevate the conflict threat. Conflict in neighbouring Syria is also a threat to Lebanon’s stability. A number of terrorist and militant groups are active in the country and have carried out attacks, although these are not generally directed at foreigners.

The most frequently reported threat to foreign travellers is from petty criminal activity. Infrastructure is good in and around Beirut and other major cities in the country, although similar standards are often not found in the less developed rural areas. Areas south of the Litani River remain largely outside of effective governmental control. High quality medical facilities and services are available in Beirut, but outside the capital, standards are considerably lower

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • High quality medical facilities and services are available in Beirut, but outside the capital standards are considerably lower
  • If travelling by taxi, do not hail taxis or shared ‘service taxis’ on local streets. The use of dispatched taxi or hotel taxi is the most safe and reliable form of travel.
  • Avoid all unnecessary travel to the following:
    • Beirut’s Shia Muslim-dominated southern suburbs
    • Tripoli (particularly Syria Street and the Bab al-Tabbaneh and Jabal Mohsen neighbourhoods)
    • Eastern Bekaa Valley (specifically the towns of Arsal, Ras Baalbek, and al-Qaa)
    • Northern Akkar and Hasbaya districts
    • Southern cities of Sidon and Tyre
    • Palestinian refugee camps

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Libya

Risk rating: High

Post-revolution Libya suffers from ongoing instability, conflict, and terrorism. The country has two rival governments, the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR), that are vying for power. Clashes between the armed groups loyal to each legislature occur intermittently amid continued competition for power and territory.

Terrorism is an ongoing concern, with the Islamic State (IS) still presenting a predominant threat. Previous attacks by IS and other groups have targeted the electoral commission, diplomatic missions, aid organisations, business hotels and foreign travellers of all nationalities. The kidnap threat is significant, with various actors staging abductions for financial and ideological motives. Foreign nationals are considered high-value targets.

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • Travellers to Libya are strongly advised to check with their respective embassies and their consulate in Libya about the latest visa requirements on a regular basis, or prior to entering and exiting the country
  • Travellers should note that customs officials will confiscate any material (including books, newspapers and magazines) considered pornographic or anti-Libyan
  • Drugs and alcohol are illegal, and customs officials have confiscated medicines such as aspirin.

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Mali

Risk rating: High

Mali possesses a complex security threat environment that poses a real risk for foreign travellers and expatriates. High levels of violence linked to the presence of armed groups and Islamist extremist outfits in northern, central and increasingly southern Mali continues to fuel insecurity. Terrorist attacks are common in northern regions, with intermittent high-profile attacks being directed against the nation’s capital.

Foreign interests in both the north and Bamako have been singled out by terrorist groups, often seeking to cause a maximum number of casualties. The lack of well-developed communications, transportation, and utilities infrastructure make it difficult for the state to govern large areas of the country. Medical infrastructure is extremely limited, even within the capital of Bamako.

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • Mali is generally assessed as a high-risk destination, and a risk assessment should have been completed against the travel itinerary before travelling
  • Travellers should have adequate travel insurance in place to enable rapid medical treatment or emergency extraction from country
  • There are no commercial domestic flights from Bamako. Charter planes are available, and the UN offers some services to humanitarian workers to Mopti, Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal regions on an infrequent basis.

 

 

Niger

Risk rating: High

A landlocked and largely desert country in West Africa, Niger is one of the poorest and least developed nations in the world. The country has experienced improved stability in recent years under the  authoritarian rule of President Mahamadou Issoufou but Niger’s political landscape remains susceptible to factionalism. The continued involvement of the military in politics is also an enduring trigger for violence and instability.

While welcoming foreign investment in all sectors, Niger suffers from a large and cumbersome bureaucracy, widespread corruption and poor infrastructure. In addition, high crime rates and intermittent bouts of civil unrest make Niger a challenging destination for foreign travellers. Travelling within the country can be extremely dangerous due to hazardous road conditions and a serious risk of highway banditry and carjacking. In the North, including areas in and around Arlit and Agadez, travellers face additional threats from land mines, rebel groups and Islamist militants. 

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • There are certain requirements requested of Non-Government-Organisations (NGOs). NGOs should register with the government, and inform the government of each trip they plan to take.
  • Periods of long-term unrest may result in closure of banks, and withdrawal of local currency; travellers should ensure that they have adequate amounts of cash
  • Travellers are advised to consider tracking their movements, such as via a smartphone app, and should seek to liaise with a company HQ on a daily basis

 

 

Most dangerous countries in the world

Nigeria

Risk rating: High

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and also the most populated country on the continent. Oil and natural gas have historically driven Nigeria’s economic growth, although pervasive corruption and insecurity have prevented the majority of the population from benefitting from the country’s resource wealth.  Nigeria saw its first peaceful democratic transition with President Muhammadu Buhari’s election in 2015, although political stability is likely be tested once more ahead of the next general polls in 2019.

Criminal activity is prevalent across much of the country, with kidnappings and armed robbery posing significant threats to both local and foreign nationals. Regional conflicts in the Niger Delta, Middle Belt and the remote Northeast remain ongoing concerns as the government has yet to fully address underlying grievances. Deteriorating public finances have undermined Buhari’s drive to combat corruption, which remains rampant, although reforms have been initiated in the notably inefficient and graft-prone oil and gas sector.  Infrastructure in major urban centres is relatively well-developed but is basic in rural areas, while recurrent electricity and fuel shortages remain ironic deficiencies in the oil-rich country.

Advice to businesses and travellers

  • For arrival into Nigerian airports, travellers should aim to arrive in daylight where possible, and should pre-book the first night’s accommodation.
  • Travellers should be aware that photographing government buildings or military facilities may result in detention by authorities
  • Travellers should have a meet and greet procedure in place, and minimise the time spent in the common areas of the airport, which are less protected. Travellers should proceed through arrivals in a timely manner, and depart as soon as practicably possible

 

 

Want to find out exact risk ratings for countries around the world? Download our latest white paper for extensive analysis and intelligence on current global risks which could impact your organisation and employees: