The last few days has seen the dark side of the region in the news. It's a worry as so much has been lost in tourism over a few years.
The situation in Mali with Al Quaeda (AQIM) has been an ongoing problem that dissuades tourists from coming to the region in the first place. Then the Ebola outbreak happened which made thousands of potential tourists cancel their trips to the whole continent, ridiculous really when you look at the distance from the affected West African countries to Europe and the distance from the sub-region to East or South Africa. A group had got together using the hashtag #Unite4WestAfrica during the outbreak to try to attract more tourism and educate potential visitors but sadly to little effect.
However earlier this week it was announced that the Ebola outbreak was officially over. The world breathed a sigh of relief. It is reckoned to have cost West Africa US$3.5 Billion in lost business and tourism to date.
Yesterday a new confirmed Ebola case cropped up in northern Sierra Leone, unfortunately the world press heard about it too; 1 step forward, 10 steps back. Not that we shouldn't take Ebola seriously but the devastation it has caused to the region is unimaginable.
Last night, AQIM's offshoot group,
al-Murabitoun are purportedly behind the attacks in Burkina Faso's capital, Ouagadougou. The same group were responsible for the Radisson attack in Bamako, Mali back in November. Yet another 'safe' country is going to be damaged by the press reports, government warnings and public worry.
Currently sitting with a group of Burkinabe friends in Côte D'Ivoire, we're all shocked by the events which seem to be ongoing as I type!
I for one won't walk away from the region nor will I be threatened by terrorism which could have easily have happened at home #Unite4WestAfrica