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Bosnia and Herzegovina Country Report

Country Risk Level

Medium

Overview

Executive Summary

Bosnia currently faces the simultaneous challenge of containing the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus and accommodating its existing migrant population. A renewed influx of migrants would put Bosnia’s state institutions under severe pressure to provide basic public services, increasing the risk of localised civil unrest. Migrant camps in the Una-Sana canton are particularly vulnerable to a COVID-19 outbreak given poor medical facilities and equipment. The spread of the COVID-19 virus has triggered a cut in the outlook for 2020, with the Bosnian economy forecast to contract by 3.2%. Growth will be harmed by external weakness and restrictive domestic social-distancing measures. Despite a suspended loan agreement, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is providing funding to Bosnia to support the healthcare system and the local economy amid the COVID-19 crisis. Bosnia’s public finances and debt will come under increased pressure in the near term. Risks to Bosnia’s short-term GDP growth forecast are heavily weighted to the downside as the COVID-19 virus spreads to Europe, with implications for household consumption, foreign investment, remittances, industrial output, and exports.

Operational Outlook

Serious barriers to investment remain in Bosnia despite previous reforms. Although authorities have achieved significant success in reducing the amount of legislative overlap between the two autonomous entities that comprise Bosnia, there are still significant differences between the two. Bosnia will depend on EU and IMF funds to restore economic health in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus pandemic. The IMF on 20 April approved USD361 million in emergency support for Bosnia.

Terrorism

The Bosnian war in 1992–95 brought an influx of foreign fighters and clerics adhering to Wahhabism. Their settlement in Bosnia gradually contributed to the proselytisation of this ideology among the local youth. On three separate occasions in 2010, 2011, and 2015, lone actors adhering to this ideology conducted attacks against security personnel and the US embassy. However, the overall capability of existing cells is very limited and unlikely to result in major attacks in Bosnia.

Crime

Organised crime groups operating in Bosnia typically engage in smuggling and trafficking of narcotics and cigarettes, and racketeering. Rival gangs often resolve disputes with violence, a phenomenon facilitated by the illegal proliferation of weapons, a legacy from the war in 1992–95. Violent gang disputes are a predominantly urban occurrence. Organised crime gangs rarely target foreign nationals; the bulk of crimes affecting expatriates is non-violent and typically involves petty theft and burglary.

War Risks

Resurgent nationalism poses the biggest risk of military conflict in Bosnia. This situation is exacerbated by the militarisation of Bosnia's regional police authorities. The risk of conflict, however, is mitigated by the commercial interests of the political and business elites of each of the three constituent ethnic groups, which remain deeply intertwined. Moreover, Bosnia's submission of its Annual National Programme (ANP) to NATO, a prerequisite of membership, will help to centralise control over all military facilities, reducing the risk of civil war.

Social Stability

High

War veterans frequently protest to demand financial state support for unemployed former soldiers. Sarajevo and Tuzla have been particularly affected by such protests, typically involving roadblocks at key highways. The risk of similar economically driven protests by other groups, including farmers opposing the liberalisation of the agricultural sector, are also relatively common. However, protest risks will likely remain low for the duration of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) virus lockdown.

Health Risk

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

No vaccinations are required to enter the country.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Practical Information

Climate

The climate is semi-continental in the north and Mediterranean in the south. Summer are very hot. Winters are long and harsh in the north of the country but milder in the south.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +387
Police: 122
Fire Dept.: 123
Ambulance: 124

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Risk Level
Critical High Medium Low Minimal