How to Prepare For A Business Trip to Africa

With a growing number of special economic zones, Africa continues to be a recurrent investment choice for global enterprises. Countries – and companies – are leveraging the region’s vast bounty, untapped natural resources, and proclivity for growth to diversify earnings, bringing opportunity and much-needed investment to the continent. However, as investment in the region increases, so does business travel to Africa.

Why Do You Need To Prepare For An African Business Trip?

Many conceptions exist regarding travel to Africa. For professionals, many of these may be an exaggeration, as travel to the continent is rather manageable, especially when using a travel management company. However, Africa does differ from other investment regions as the continent has varying degrees of development and safety, making it crucial that professionals understand how to prepare for a business trip to Africa before travelling.

Health and Safety Precautions

Your wellbeing should be first on the agenda when travelling to Africa. Since many parts of the continent lack the necessary infrastructure to manage medical emergencies and large portions of the population lack the medical resources, diseases can spread. To avoid getting even the flu, be sure you adhere to the following health precautions.

Vaccinations

Access to medical facilities varies between African countries. Therefore, you should assume that you won’t have immediate access to medical professionals, should you require it. For mining professionals, this is compounded because even in developed African nations, you are likely to work in remote locations. Consequently, you should receive the following vaccines before travel and have confirmation from your travel management company to ensure you’re also able to travel freely within the continent.

Cholera

If you are spending considerable time in rural locations, a cholera vaccine is vital. Immunization takes effect after one week, and the vaccine’s effectiveness lasts up to six months, after which you may require a booster shot.

Routine Vaccinations

It’s also vital that you have your routine vaccines – whooping cough, polio, rubella, mumps, measles, tetanus, and diphtheria – to prevent infection. While outbreaks of these diseases are rare in developed nations, in remote parts of the continent, not all citizens may be vaccinated, making freak outbreaks likely.

Yellow Fever

In countries where Yellow Fever is endemic, you won’t be permitted to enter the country without a yellow fever vaccine certificate.

COVID-19

Although there haven’t been any official announcements on the implementation or enforcement of the COVID-19 vaccine in Africa, it is best to assume that this vaccine will become compulsory for travel sometime in the future.

Medication For Pre-Existing Conditions

For travellers with pre-existing conditions, it’s important to note that you may not be able to fill up on scripts or to schedule appointments with a doctor at a moment’s notice. Since many mining towns lack necessary medical infrastructure, it is crucial that if you have medication and or any apparatus for pre-existing health conditions, you pack it. Additionally, be sure to pack copies of any doctors scripts should you run into a medical emergency in Africa.

Antibacterial Wipes

COVID-19 regulations aside, antibacterial wipes are critical to preventing the spread of germs. If you’re unable to wash your hands – as recommended – antibacterial wipes will ensure you aren’t spreading germs or picking them up.

Health and Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is a must when travelling anywhere in Africa, as the region is far riskier than other developed nations. Consequently, having travel insurance is not enough; you should also examine your coverage before you embark on your trip to ensure it covers many possibilities.

Miscellaneous Travel Essentials

Besides the health precautions, there are numerous other travel preparations necessary when traveling to Africa.

Copy of Essential Documents

Always keep a – certified – copy of your travel documents such as your passport, ID, visa, COVID-19 documents, itinerary, travel insurance plan details, copy of your hotel or residential address should you ever need it.

Sensible Clothing

From closed shoes to breathable fabrics, consider your clothing choices, so you’re prepared for the local climate. Climates in certain parts can be extreme, from blistering hot days to freezing nights. Furthermore, your clothing can also protect you from heat, insects, and reptiles. If you’re not spending most of your days in the office, choose comfort and safety over style and always avoid wearing jewellery.

Emergency Cash

In many parts of the continent, cash is preferred. In certain African countries, that cash may be the USD or the local currency. Don’t expect USD notes to work in every country. Instead, research the local currency and exchange your notes when landing. While many accept Visa and MasterCard cards in most locations, some informal traders, including local shops, will only accept cash. For that reason, try to keep the equivalent of 50 USD on hand; and 20 USD in your wallet as large sums of money may make you a target of harassment and robbery.

Travel Plug Adapter

To ensure you can work uninterrupted, be sure to bring a few travel adaptors along.

Bottled Water

Wherever possible, travel with water from your hotel or a local store to ensure you don’t have to drink water from unknown sources during the workday. It’s also encouraged to avoid tap water even when residing at hotels and instead use bottled water for drinking. If you’re having an extended stay, purchasing bottled water in bulk is advised.

Consider Cultural Differences

The final element of travelling to Africa is to be mindful of the culture. Because Africa has such a rich history and diverse cultures, be sure you learn about the culture of the region you will be travelling to. Remember, even within one country, there are numerous cultures, and if you aren’t prepared, alternating cultural traits can be offensive.

Additionally, knowing the local culture and language will also help you ingratiate yourself with locals. But, remember, above all, be respectful. If you’re uncertain, ask to ensure you don’t appear obscene or offensive.

You can also reach out to our team for a more detailed list of what to prepare for your travel to a specific region within Africa. We will also manage correspondence with your health practitioners to ensure a safe and healthy journey in Africa.