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Central African Republic
Preface Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Central African Republic (CAR), with a population of 3.5 million people, is a constitutional democracy with a multiparty legislature. Ange-Felix Patasse, leader of the Movement for the Liberation of the Central African People (MLPC), was first elected President in 1993 and reelected with a narrow majority in September 1999, with Presidential elections next scheduled for 2005.

The CAR has been plagued with political instability over the past several years, beginning with three military mutinies between 1996 and 1997. On May 28, 2001, former President Andre Kolingba led a faction of the security forces in a coup attempt. On August 30, the President named a new cabinet, most of whom are members of his MLPC party. Salary arrears owed to civilian employees and the military and resulting strikes continue to impair the functioning of the Government and the authority of the state to enforce the rule of law.

The CAR, one of the world's least developed countries, has an annual per capital income of $310. The nation is agrarian, with some 70 percent of the population working in subsistence agriculture, producing mainly cotton, food crops, coffee, and tobacco. The timber and diamond industries are the main source of export earnings. The country has rich, but largely unexploited natural resources including diamond, gold, uranium, and other minerals. The country also has unexploited oil potentials.

The CAR Government has traditionally depended on foreign assistance for a large part of its operating budget. France and the European Union, the largest contributors, followed by Japan and China, together generally contribute over $100 million annually. U.S. Government assistance to the CAR averages some $500,000 annually through the Ambassador's Special Self-Help Program, the Africa Regional Democracy Fund, the International Military Education and Training Program, and the Education for Development and Democracy Initiative's Girls' Scholarship Program.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Central African Republic, formerly known as the territory of Oubangui-Chari, was one of four territories of French Equatorial Africa. It became an autonomous republic within the newly established French Community on December 1, 1958, and was renamed the Central African Republic 2 years later. It transformed itself into the Central African Empire on December 4, 1976, and again became a republic (Republique Centrafricaine) on September 20, 1979.

The Central African Republic is a landlocked country on a broad plateau in the heart of the African Continent. With an area of 238,000 square miles, it is slightly smaller than Texas. It is bordered on the north by Chad, on the east by Sudan, on the south by the Democratic Republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) and the Republic of Congo, and on the west by Cameroon. Most of the country is between 1,300 and 3,600 feet above sea level, with an average altitude of about 2,000 feet.

The country is a watershed for the Lake Chad/Chari River Basin to the north and the Congo River Basin to the south. Although rivers are numerous, they are small and do not lend themselves to heavy commerce. The Oubangui River is commercially navigable only downstream from Bangi, and usually only between the months of July and January.

Vegetation varies from tropical rain forest in the extreme southwest to semidesert in the northeast. The bulk of the country is wooded savanna.

Average monthly temperatures range from a low of around 66°F to a high of about 93°F. Most of the precipitation in the area of Bangui occurs between May and October, usually characterized by short, violent thunderstorms. Although it rains hard at times, the sun shines almost every day. Dust, generally sunny skies, and warm weather are the forecast for the dry season (November to April ).

Year-round daylight hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. The country is one hour ahead of Greenwich mean time. Daylight saving time is not observed.

Population Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The estimated population is 3.5 million. Almost two-thirds of the people inhabit the western region, which includes Bangui, and most of the remaining population live in the central region. The eastern region has a density of less than one person per square mile. The country's overall density is 6-8 persons per square mile.

About 80% of the people live in rural areas. Bangui, with about 700,000 people, is the only large city. Five other towns have populations exceeding 20,000; all are in the western or central regions.

Although many ethnic groups exist, two main groups (the Baya-Mandjia, who inhabit the western and northern part of the country, and the Banda, who inhabit the center of the country) account for two-thirds of the population. A third group (riverine group of M'Bakas, Mbatis, Yakomas, and Sanghos, located in the Bangui area and in several areas along the Oubangui River) comprises about 15% of the population but supplied the first four Chiefs of State. Pygmies, the country's original inhabitants, live in the forests of the southwest.

Each ethnic group has its own language, but Sango, the language of a small riverine group along the Oubangui, is the lingua franca of the country and the national language. Only a small minority of the population has more than an elementary knowledge of French, the country's official language. Catholic and Protestant missionaries have been active since the late 19th century, and both churches are well established. According to church attendance records, about 50% of the population is Christian (roughly half Catholic and half Protestant). Muslims constitute about 15%-20% and are important to the trade of the country. The balance of the population adheres to traditional religious beliefs.

Significant foreign communities in the country include the Chadian, Cameroonian, Congolese (Kinshasa and Brazzaville), Senegalese, Sudanese, and Nigerian colonies in the Bangui area. Most of the country's 1,000-2,000 non-African residents are French citizens living in Bangui; of the remainder, about 150 are Americans, mostly missionaries in the interior.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Central African Republic is a constitutional democracy with a multiparty legislature, with president Ange-Felix Patasse as the head of state. The C.A.R. has a very centralized government, with provincial governments having little if any authority on economic matters. The political system consists of three branches: executive, legislative, and judicial. The executive branch includes the President and the Prime Minister; the latter ostensibly leads the government. The legislative branch is a unicameral National Assembly of 109 members. The Judiciary consists of the constitutional court (the highest court), as well as civil, commercial, administrative, criminal, and financial courts. Following the military mutinies of 1996-97, free elections for the National Assembly and the presidency took place in December 1998 and September 1999, respectively, with moderate government oversight. Of the more than 30 political parties in the Central African Republic, only 8 are represented in the National Assembly.

For administrative purposes, the country is divided into 16 "prefectures," which in turn are divided into two or more "subprefectures." Officials of these units ("prefects" and "subprefects") report directly to the Ministry of the Interior. The army, the gendarmerie, and the national police maintain public order.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Cultural and intellectual life is developing. Institutions of higher education include the University of Bangui, the National School of Administration and Magistrature, and the National Teachers Training College.

Local culture reflects outside influences to some degree, particularly from neighboring countries. Native dancing is gaining recognition as an integral part of the culture. The Boganda Museum in Bangui houses a collection of items of cultural interest, including ethnic artifacts.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The economy is predominantly subsistence agriculture. Manioc, millet, and sorghum are the leading food crops. Light industries located in the Bangui area include plants for processing agricultural products; one cigarette factory; a brewery; a factory producing cooking oil and soap; a sawmill; a sugar refinery; a palm oil plant; cotton de-seeding plants; and a diamond-cutting facility. The country has no heavy industry. Leading exports are diamonds, coffee, timber, and cotton. Uranium deposits exist, but they are located in a remote area and are not regarded as exploitable in the near future. Petroleum exploration has resulted in no exploitable discoveries. French and Lebanese businesses control much of the commercial activity of the country, and France is responsible for about 40% of the CAR's foreign trade. U.S. trade with the Central African Republic for 2000 amounted to some $1 million in exports and $2.7 million in imports.

As a former French colony and an associate member of the European Union (EU), the Central African Republic receives substantial foreign aid from France and the EU's European Development Fund. In addition, Germany, Japan, China, and the U.S. provide more modest levels of technical and project assistance. The UNDP, UNICEF, UNHCR, and other UN agencies have important development projects here.


Automobiles Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Privately owned vehicles and taxis are the main means of transport. A car is almost indispensable for getting around town. The Embassy tries to assist with transportation pending the arrival of personal vehicles, but it can provide only limited assistance during office hours. Given the limited public transport and the high cost of car rentals (between $48 and $110 a day minimum), you will need a car, so ship it in advance to ensure early arrival in Bangui. You can also purchase a car locally. Shipment from the U.S. takes 2-5 months.

All accredited diplomatic personnel may import one car duty free from the U.S. or elsewhere, or may purchase one duty-free car per family from local dealers. All personnel are entitled to sell cars locally, but the buyer must pay customs and import taxes before the employee can transfer the car. Staff personnel should contact the Embassy for instructions prior to shipping a vehicle.

The best cars for Bangui in terms of servicing and parts are Peugeot and Renault. Some models of Toyota, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Citroen, and Mercedes are also available and can be serviced locally. They can be purchased new and tax free in Bangui. The price includes cost of shipping from the factory, so tax-free vehicle prices in Bangui are considerably higher than regular vehicle prices in the U.S. or Europe. Used cars generally cost more than similar models in the U.S.

In choosing a vehicle for Bangui, options to consider are heavy-duty shocks, highroad clearance, undercoating, and four wheel drive for city streets and for upcountry trips. Manual transmission is more practical than automatic; Bangui has no repair shops for automatic transmissions. Privately owned vehicles may be any color. Tires with inner tubes are strongly recommended, given the poor roads in Bangui.

Repair services are expensive but generally satisfactory for cars with which local mechanics are well acquainted and for which spare parts are available locally. If you bring a car without easily obtainable spare parts, ship a supply of these as well.

Super and diesel fuel are available locally, but supplies are not always plentiful. Unleaded gas is not available. Super sells for CFA 650 (about 90 cents) a liter plus tax in Bangui or about CFA 2,366 ($3.24) a gallon. The tax-free price is about CFA 400 (55 cents) a liter or about CFA 1,460 ($2.00) a gallon. Diesel costs about CFA 1,600 ($2.20) a gallon tax-free or CFA 2,080 ($2.85) a gallon with tax. These are valid throughout the country.

Gasoline and diesel fuel is not always available outside of Bangui, so you must carry sufficient fuel for round-trip travel. An extra spare tire, tire pump, and patches are also suggested for long stretches of road where service is unavailable. Traffic moves on the right and French traffic rules prevail; i.e., at an intersection or at a traffic circle, the vehicle on the right has the right-of-way.

Cars are registered upon arrival. Third-party liability insurance is mandatory, and rates from $89 to $120 yearly for a small car to $164 and above for larger cars. Coverage is arranged with a locally licensed company. American or international driver's licenses are accepted.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Bangui has limited public bus service; inter-city minibuses, which are infrequent and dangerous, connect principal towns.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Air transport is expensive, but generally reliable. Bangui airport handles scheduled passenger and cargo flights. Air France operates between Paris and Bangui, with weekly flights also stopping in N'djamena, Chad. Cameroon Airlines operates flights between Bangui and Douala, and Sudan Airways operates between Bangui and Karthoum. Irregularly scheduled internal air service and small charter planes are available.

The water transport route from the Atlantic Ocean to Bangui begins with a long railroad trip from Pointe Noire, Congo to Brazzaville where cargo is transshipped on barges up the Congo and Oubangui Rivers to Bangui. Above Bangui the Oubangui is navigable only by shallow draft barges in the rainy season. Motorized "pirogues" (African dugout canoes) and a vehicle ferry cross the Oubangui River at Bangui to the town of Zongo in former Zaire.

The principal land transport route from the Atlantic to Bangui goes from Douala and Yaounde, Cameroon. Roads also connect to neighboring Chad and Sudan. Except for roads connecting Bangui with Baoro (185 miles), Sibut (68 miles), and M' Baiki (64 miles), many roads outside Bangui are unpaved. Even Bangui has many unpaved streets. Road surfaces deteriorate in the rainy season, so a four-wheel-drive vehicle with high road clearance is a distinct advantage.

Most freight for Bangui is shipped by truck from Douala, Cameroon. A small amount of trans-Sahara road traffic, mostly overland tourists, pass through Bangui on travels further south or east.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

SOCATEL, the local parastatal telephone company, has a capacity of 12,000 lines. Other phone services include CARATEL (1,000 lines), TELECEL (10,000 lines) and Telecom Plus (2,000 lines). Overseas direct dialing is available. Basic monthly charges for a telephone are about CFA 8,800 ($12). Subscribers are billed about CFA 241 (33˘) for each local call.

Calls to the U.S. of usually good quality are routed through Paris. A long-distance call costs about CFA 2,360 ($3.23) per minute. Commercial telegrams are available to the U.S. and are routed via Paris. Embassy staff who regularly call to the U.S. subscribe to callback services. Internet service is available and fairly reliable.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Most international airmail to Bangui is routed via Paris. International airmail from the U.S. to Bangui takes 6-10 days at best. International surface mail to and from the U.S. takes 2-6 months. Some mail censorship is reported, and pilferage of packages occurs. The C.A.R. postal system has been on intermittent strike for the past few years, so service is sporadic.

International mail should be addressed:

Employee's Name Ambassade des Etats-Unis d'Amerique BP 924 Avenue David Dacko Bangui, Republique Centrafricaine

Mail is sent and delivered to the Embassy via DHL door-to-door and usually takes 1-2 weeks for receipt and delivery. Mailing of personal packages from post is prohibited.

Bangui does not have APO privileges. Mail and packages from the U.S. arrive via Department of State pouch. Letter mail, blank check forms, exposed film mailers and developed film, and prescription glasses may be sent by airpouch from the U.S. Items such as explosives, aerosols, glass, and liquids are prohibited from being shipped via pouch. Letters may be sent from post via airpouch, but only packages returning merchandise to the originator may be sent to the U.S. Bring a supply of U.S. postage stamps. Maximum weight for any package is 40 pounds. The maximum length is 24 inches and combined length and girth may not exceed 62 inches. Letters sent from the U.S. by pouch take 6-10 days or more to reach their destination. Letters should be addressed:

Full Name 2060 Bangui Place Dulles, Virginia 20189-2060

Packages, magazines, and other third-class mail should be sent to the same address.

Due to State Department regulations, no insured mail or packages will be accepted by the State Department Mail Room. Insured mail will be returned to sender. International package service is unreliable. DHL service is also available.

Radio and TV Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Government radio station, Radio Centrafrique, broadcasts music, news, and announcements on mediumwave and FM from Bangui in French and Sangho. Radio France International (RFI) broadcasts news every 30 minutes. Radio Africa Numero Un broadcasts music and news in French on the FM band. There is also a private radio station of the Catholic Church, Radio Notre Dame and Radio N'Deke Luka, and Radio de L'Evangile.

TV uses the French technical system SECAM/PAL. American sets will not operate in Bangui, but they can be used to view American formatted VHS tapes. TV is not available outside Bangui. Broadcasts in French and Sangho consist of music, news, movies, and imported programs, mostly in French. Most Embassy houses are connected to satellite dishes that bring in Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS). Most embassy residences receive Armed Forces Radio and Television Service broadcast which include six channels of American variety programming, sports, and a 24-hour news channel. The Chancery has OpenNet Plus which provides internet access from your desktop computer.

Voice of America, BBC, and other international services can be received on shortwave bands.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Several French-language newspapers are published regularly in Bangui. Some French newspapers, magazines, and books are sold locally. No English-language publications are sold locally. The Embassy's Martin Luther King Cultural Center receives copies of various English- and French-language publications. The Embassy receives copies of the International Herald Tribune from Paris, usually 1-7 days after publication.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Bangui has two large government hospitals staffed primarily by French and Central African doctors; most speak only French. Although the specialists at the hospital are often consulted, the in-patient facilities are not used because of the questionable sanitary conditions and nursing care. There is a private clinic that offers adequate in-patient care, and the French and Japanese embassies have medical facilities available to American staff. Several Chinese clinics are available throughout Bangui, offering both standard and traditional Chinese medical care. Serious cases are referred to medevac centers in Côte d'Ivoire or Europe.

Competent emergency dental work is available, but all dental work should be done before arrival if possible.

Although specialists in ophthalmology, orthopedics, OB/GYN, general surgery, pediatrics, and ear, nose, and throat problems exist, they are rarely used. Deliveries are arranged in the U.S. or Europe in case of complications.

Several local pharmacies are fairly well stocked with French medicines. Eyeglasses can be ordered from one of the pharmacies but are very expensive and entail substantial delay. It is advisable to bring a spare pair of glasses.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tuberculosis, sexually transmitted diseases, AIDS, schistosomiasis, and intestinal parasites are prevalent, but foreigners rarely contract such endemic diseases if they observe simple preventive measures. Dysentery (amebic and bacillary), skin infections, malaria, and hepatitis are a constant risk. Viral ailments such as colds and flu are common. Those with respiratory, skin, or sinus problems may find these conditions aggravated.

Local authorities require yellow fever immunizations for entry into the country. The Department of State advises hepatitis A and B, tetanus, typhoid, polio, and rabies shots.

Chloroquine-resistant malaria has become a problem during the last few years. Thus, careful prevention of exposure to mosquitoes and malaria suppression is essential. Mefloquin, an antimalarial, is recommended. A weekly dose of Chloroquine in addition to daily doses of Paludrine is also used by some people. Malaria suppression should be started 2 weeks before your arrival.

It takes most people some time to adjust to the climate. Children generally adapt well, but heat rash and childhood diseases can occur. Moderate physical exercise and active social interests help maintain good health. Avoid too much sun.

Snakes, scorpions, tarantulas and other spiders, ants, and mosquitoes make it necessary to take precautions when walking outdoors, including wearing shoes and using insect repellent, particularly at night.

Bangui's water is purified in a modern plant, but because of the condition of the city pipelines, water must be boiled and filtered before drinking or using for ice cubes. All quarters occupied by Embassy personnel have three-stage, automatic water filters.

Local vegetables, particularly leafy ones, should be washed in a detergent or bleach ("eau de javel" in French) solution, or should be peeled or cooked before eating. Cook local meats thoroughly to avoid parasites such as trichina or tapeworms.

Treat fruits and vegetables imported from Europe for possible contamination in transit. They need not be peeled. Fresh milk is not available, although long-life milk is frequently stocked in local food stores.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The host government does not prohibit Embassy dependents from occupying positions open to expatriates. Work permits are not required, but most positions require fluency in French. At the Embassy, part-time, intermittent or temporary (PIT) positions can be arranged. Dependent children are not currently permitted at post.

American Embassy - Bangui

Post City Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Bangui, the CAR's only major city, is the country's economic center and has the only major river port and airport. It is located in a picturesque setting on the north bank of the Oubangui River, about 1,100 miles upstream from the Atlantic Ocean.

Founded in 1889 as a French military post, the city takes its name from a native word meaning "the rapids." It nestles beneath low-lying hills at the water's edge near rapids that prevent all but small boats and very shallow barges from plying the river farther upstream.

The city is surrounded by a vast savanna of high grass and thickets of low trees spread over rolling hills to the north and west. Little villages are strung along the roads like beads. The nearest heavy equatorial rain forest lies about 2 hours (60 miles) to the southwest. To the south, across the Oubangui River from Bangui, lies the former Zaire.

Since Bangui is situated 4° north of the Equator and 1,300 feet above sea level, its climate is humid and unchanging except during the brief, violent thunderstorms of the rainy season.

The average high temperature for March, in the dry season, is 92.5°F; the low is 67°F. Average rainfall is 5 inches in January and 6.5 inches in July; August has the greatest average rainfall at 13 inches.

Most of Bangui's population of about 700,000 lives in agglomerations of huts dispersed over a wide area several miles from the city's modern core. The core consists of European-style residential districts; the downtown shopping, banking, and office area; government offices; and river port installations.

The city has a small town appearance. Many main avenues are lined with huge overhanging mango trees, which bear fruit in the spring, or the somewhat smaller but exotic "flame" trees with brilliant red blossoms in season. A substantial percentage of Bangui's foreign population is French, principally business representatives or those connected with the government in advisory or technical capacities. Other foreign nationals include Chinese, Portuguese, Egyptians, Senegalese, Chadians, Cameroonians, Congolese (Brazzaville and Kinshasa), Ivoirians, Nigerians, Sudanese, Togolese, Lebanese, and Syrians.

American missionaries and their dependents reside at their organizations' stations in Bangui, while others live and work in the many up-country provinces. A few Americans come to the CAR each year for photo or hunting safaris.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The American Embassy, the only U.S. Foreign Service post in the country, has six direct-hire American employees. All U.S. Government personnel, including Peace Corps volunteers, were evacuated in March 1997 following the military mutinies. The Embassy resumed operations in June 1998. The Marine Security Guard detachment was deactivated in September 1994.

The Chancery is a two-story office building, purchased by the U.S. Government in 1978. It is located on Avenue David Dacko, about one-quarter mile from the center of town. The Embassy compound also includes the Cultural Center, warehouses, and three Embassy staff houses.

The Embassy phone number is 61-02-00; the fax number is 61-44-94. Embassy hours are Mondays to Thursdays, 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and Fridays, 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

New personnel arrive at Bangui M'Poko International Airport and are met by the expediter and a member of the Embassy staff.


Permanent Housing Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Housing for U.S. Government personnel in Bangui is U.S. Government owned. The Ambassador's residence is spacious but unpretentious. The living room and dining room, which may be used individually or as one large entertainment area, open directly onto a large terrace and garden. A library and small dining room, both air-conditioned, are provided for family use.

Four bedrooms with adjoining baths on the second floor open onto a screened porch overlooking a terrace and garden. All the bedrooms have closets and are air-conditioned. The kitchen is fully equipped, including two upright freezers, three refrigerators, a four-burner electric range with oven, a four-burner professional gas range, washer, dryer, carpet shampooer, and vacuum cleaner.

The residence is completely furnished, including draperies and rugs. Official china, glassware, some table linens, a limited amount of kitchen utensils and equipment, bed linens, pillows, and bathroom towels for guests are provided. A lighted tennis court, a swimming pool, a large straw pavilion (or paillote in French), and a vegetable garden area are on the grounds.

The DCM's home, formerly the Marine house, contains four bedrooms, each with its own internal bathroom, a dining room, exercise room, ample storage space, kitchen, and a spacious living room that opens onto a patio with a swimming pool and a backyard facing the river. The backyard contains a large straw pavilion (or paillote in French) and an outside grill. The house is air-conditioned, fully furnished, and well suited for entertaining. The kitchen is equipped with a four-burner electric range with oven, refrigerator, freezer, and internal storage room. The washer and dryer are located on the small back porch near the kitchen.

There are three houses located on the compound adjacent to the Chancery compound, i.e., 2 one-bedroom houses and 1 two-bedroom house. There are also three other houses—a two-bedroom house with storage room and backyard swimming pool, located next door, and within the compound of the Ambassador's residence.

All residences are provided with security guards for 24-hour coverage. Most houses offer ample outdoor gardening opportunities. Vegetables, fruits, and flowers grow easily, given the climate, although American-purchased seeds often do not germinate.

Furnishings Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

All the houses are fully furnished with air-conditioning, as well as with major appliances, i.e., refrigerators, freezers, washers, dryers, electric and/or gas ranges, air-conditioners, dehumidifiers, vacuum cleaners, and ironing boards. If you own many books and records or have multipiece stereo equipment or TV and videocassette recorder, you may need to supplement the shelves or cabinets provided. The climate is harmful to softwoods and leather and other upholstery, and rugs are susceptible to mold and mildew. Precautions must be continually taken against termites and moths.

Furniture manufactured in Bangui, although often attractive, is expensive and generally made with heavy hardwood that may warp or crack if taken to a temperate climate.

The post lends new arrivals a Welcome Kit that includes bedding, linens, towels, pots and pans, china, glassware, table service, and an iron. The kit is to be returned when your personal household effects (HHE) arrive.

Except for the Ambassador's residence, linens, silverware, dishes, glassware, and kitchen utensils are not provided for permanent quarters. The DCM's residence has glassware, china, and pots and pans. Bring small kitchen appliances. You may also want to bring pictures and bric-a-brac to give your quarters a personal touch. The DCM's residence has glassware, china, and pots and pans. Bangui has no storage facilities.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

All Embassy housing has hot and cold running water in kitchens and bathrooms. The water is soft. All quarters have water filters. Electric current is 220v, 50-cycle, AC. Transformers for furnished appliances are provided along with one or two spares. Obtain transformers for any appliances that will be permanently placed, such as a stereo. Transformers are sold locally for double the U.S. price.

Phonographs, electric clocks, and other items designed to operate on 60 cycles must be adapted to 50-cycle operation. Do this before leaving the U.S. or bring the necessary parts with you since such parts are not available in Bangui. Inexpensive converter plugs used with U.S. electric equipment in French-style sockets are available here. In deciding what equipment to bring, remember that repair facilities are limited, of limited quality, and often expensive. As power levels fluctuate during the dry season and frequent power cuts occur, make sure to bring a voltage stabilizer for stereos, TVs, and VCRs. Also, bring a small UPS if you are bringing a personal computer.

Phones are installed in all quarters, and service is good. Occupants are billed regularly.

Food Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Embassy has no commissary. Local vegetables and fruit are fresh, reasonably priced, and good, but seasonally limited. Produce must be carefully washed, soaked, and cooked. Carrots, green onions, cabbage, string beans, eggplant, lettuce, tomatoes, squash, and lima beans are sold in season. Cassava (manioc) is always available. Locally grown potatoes are available, but are somewhat costly. Local fruit, some of it seasonal, includes bananas, pineapples, papayas, mangoes, avocados, oranges, grapefruit, guavas, passion fruit, and custard apples. Home gardening is popular and African seeds are available. Other vegetables usually do not do well because of the soil.

Several stores carry imported goods from France and South Africa, such as canned fruit and vegetables, flour, salt, sugar; dried beans, noodles, packaged cookies and candies, paper goods, soap, and cleaning products and toiletries. There are occasional shortages and prices can be extremely high.

Pasteurized fresh milk is not available. Sterilized cream and whole and low fat milk in paper cartons or bottles are imported but are only irregularly available. Powdered and evaporated milk, fresh eggs, butter, and cheese are also available.

Beef, pork, lamb, smoked meats, and a good selection of cold cuts are carried in the supermarket. The best local fish is the capitaine, a large (and expensive) river fish with firm white flesh. Fish, shrimp, lobsters, oysters, and other seafood arrive once a week in season from France and the African coast. Also included in the weekly arrival are fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables at very high prices.

The most widely available fresh bread is of the French "baguette" type. Croissants, pastries, and some sandwich-type bread may be purchased at a reasonable price.

Because of the high prices and the shortages, it is wise to ship canned items, paper goods, and cleaning products via consumables order or HHE, or order them directly from export houses in Europe. A 2,500-pound consumables allowance is authorized, but you must order within your first year of arrival at post. As previously mentioned, explosives, aerosols, glass, and liquids are prohibited from pouch shipment.

Wines, liquor, imported beer, and soft drinks are sold locally. Beer, soda, water, and soft drinks, including Coca-Cola, are bottled locally. U.S. Government personnel may buy cigarettes, cigars, wine, liquor, and imported beer duty free through local suppliers.

Clothing Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Bring only enough winter clothing for travel to colder climates. Winter clothing mildews easily in Bangui. Since bedrooms are air-conditioned, bring appropriate sleepwear. Bring all sports clothing and footwear, as none are available in Bangui. Day trips and travel into the bush are popular activities in the C.A.R., for which sturdy walking shoes and/or tennis shoes, khaki shirts, and skirts or pants are recommended.

Men Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Lightweight summer clothing is worn year round. A set of woolen clothing is useful for traveling or for very occasional chilly weather. Men wear long- or short-sleeved shirts, ties, or sports shirts. They wear slacks in the office and don jackets to make calls outside the office. Wash-and-wear clothing is most practical. Drycleaning is available but very expensive, slow, and of dubious quality. Daytime wear is usually in darker rather than lighter shades. Dark blue or gray suits are worn in the evenings. Except for the Ambassador and DCM or their spouses, dinner jackets are not necessary. Most invitations read detente or decontractee (casual), which means long- or short-sleeved shirt and no tie. Loose fitting, open-neck sports shirts are practical but should be in conservative prints or color for eveningwear. European style men's clothing is available but expensive.

Women Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Light, informal washable dresses, skirts, and blouses are worn year round. Dressy cottons, informal dresses, and pants are often worn at informal functions, and some more elaborate dresses (light and informal silks) are desirable for official functions. For more formal occasions, bring one or two formal dresses. Attractive but expensive women's clothing in limited variety is sold locally, and dresses can be made locally from attractive local fabrics. Bring a few sweaters and long-sleeved dresses and blouses for cool weather. Coats are needed only for traveling in colder climates. Bring a lightweight, nonplastic raincoat if you have one, but an umbrella is usually sufficient. Pool chemicals cause bathing suits to wear out quickly. If you plan to swim frequently, bring several suits. Gloves and stockings are rarely worn. Hats are needed for sun wear. Slacks and shorts are quite acceptable for sports or other informal occasions within the community. Bring some khaki shirts, skirts, or pants for bush trips and a good supply of shoes. Sandals with or without heels and regular summer footwear are worn most of the time. Bring a good supply of clothing and shoes as they wear out quickly here. If you sew, bring patterns, materials, and notions, particularly buttons, zippers, and thread; local supplies are costly and limited.

Children Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

While including information on clothing for children may be useful as a part of the Post Report, one should also note that no dependent children are authorized to be posted in Bangui at the time of this writing.

Bring a complete child's wardrobe, if possible. Children's clothes are expensive and quantities limited. Mail-order purchases are an alternative. Each child should have a few sweaters, a large number of T-shirts, and some flannel pajamas. School-aged boys wear cotton shorts or blue jeans and shirts; girls wear simple cotton dresses and shorts. Sandals and sneakers are sold locally at U.S. prices but are only of fair quality, and sizes are limited. Children dress as they would in the U.S. No school uniforms are worn in schools likely to be attended by Embassy children.

Make arrangements to order shoes from the U.S. for growing children, since fitting problems cannot be resolved here. Clothes in subteen sizes, particularly for girls, are hard to get locally and are expensive. Bring clothes for children's sports.

For infants mothers suggest using cloth diapers during the day and disposable diapers for nighttime and outings. If you plan to use disposable diapers, ship an ample supply; local prices are very high.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Some cosmetics and toilet articles, facial tissue, toilet paper, and feminine hygiene supplies are sold in Bangui at double or more than U.S. prices. If you have favorite brands, bring a supply. European cigarettes and a few American brands are sold but are expensive. Pipe tobacco can be found, but it is generally not packed for the tropics and suffers accordingly.

The following miscellaneous items either cannot be found locally or, if available, are expensive and often of poor quality:

Books and magazines (in English) Baby furniture and equipment (cribs, high chairs, playpens, strollers) Children's toys Candles (bring partly used ones too, since they can be used during power outages) Children's birthday party supplies Christmas trees, lights, and spare bulbs Decorations for holidays and birthday parties Small gifts and gift-wrapping paper Greeting cards Picnic supplies (paper or plastic), including charcoal grill, cooler, and thermos Sewing notions (buttons, zippers, material, patterns) Shower curtains Favorite household and laundry cleaning products. Golf, tennis, fishing, and other sports equipment insect repellent, flashlights, and batteries

See Transportation for information on vehicle fuel supplies.

Basic Services Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

There are a few beauty salons in Bangui where the quality of service is good by U.S. standards. Laundry is done in the home by domestic employees. Shoe repair work is often slow, expensive, and poor.

Spare parts for American (and often foreign) equipment usually cannot be found. Local merchants who advertise as agents for name-brand products (GM, Sony) are generally agents for sales only and do not stock parts or honor guarantees.

Americans have used the services of local dressmakers but with varying results. Photo developing is available at prices slightly higher than in the U.S. It is best to purchase prepaid mailers and pouch exposed film to the U.S. for developing.

See Transportation for information on car repair services.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Domestics (who normally do not live in) are readily available, but trained help is hard to find. Gardeners earn about CFA 74,750 ($75) a month, houseboys CFA 58,400 ($80), and cooks CFA 65,700 ($90) and up. Servants need close supervision. It is possible to hire men or women to look after children, but they require supervision and a great deal of training.

All servants should have complete physical examinations before employment and periodic checkups thereafter.

Employers pay an amount equal to 20% of their servants' total earnings into a Social Security system. The government provides medical care under the Social Security system. Medicines must be purchased, and employers usually assume this responsibility. Servants are entitled to 18 days leave annually. Servants speak Sango and French; few know English.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Catholic and Protestant churches in Bangui hold services in French and Sango. American missionaries (Baptist and Grace Brethren) have informal services in English once a week.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM Presently, post is restricted from having dependent children, but the following information is given should restrictions be lifted in the near future.

No English-language primary or secondary education is available in Bangui. Children attend Charles de Gaulle Primary School, which follows the French curriculum, is accredited by the French Government, and supervised by the French Embassy in Bangui. A preschool program is offered as well as kindergarten through grade 6. Other students are European and African. Teachers are French, mostly spouses of French aid personnel. The cost is about CFA 500,000 ($685) per trimester. A one-time registration fee, plus cost of books and other materials, is all covered by the education allowance.

On the same compound is the Lycee (high school) Andre Malraux, with grades 7 through baccalaureate (graduation). The school is open to Central Africans and other foreigners. All classes are in French, with English taught as a foreign language. The system is geared to prepare students for entry into higher educational institutions in France.

The school year runs from October through mid-June. School is held 6 days weekly, Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to noon. The quality of education in both schools is good and comparable to schools in metropolitan France, but many subjects normally available in American schools are not offered.

Another preschool, Ecole Nicolas et Pimprenelle, offers a morning program for children 2 to 6 years old for CFA 150,000 ($205) per trimester, with a CFA 30,000 ($41) registration fee.

The College Preparatoire International (CPI) offers an English program for kindergarten through grade 12, in addition to their regular French curriculum.

Away From Post Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM In the past, teenage dependents of personnel at post usually attended boarding school in the U.S. Information about such schools is available at the Family Liaison Office (FLO) in Washington.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

According to demand, and subject to availability of funds, the Embassy has sponsored a French-language program in the past based on FSI material. Tutors can be privately engaged to instruct adults and children in French and give general tutoring help to children after school hours.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Tennis, swimming, squash, boating, horseback riding, and golf are available. Soccer is played locally. The Embassy staff can use a tennis court and a swimming pool at the Ambassador's residence at certain hours. They are lit for evening use.

The Rock Club, on the Oubangui River, has a clubhouse with lounge and snackbars, tennis (four hard courts) and squash courts, table tennis, large swimming pool, small boat marina, and classes in ballet, gymnastics, and judo for adults and children. It costs CFA 75,000 ($103) to join, with dues ranging from CFA 81,000 ($111) per trimester for individuals to CFA 115,000 ($158) per trimester for couples.

The Tennis Club of Bangui (TCB), has five clay courts that are fairly well maintained and lit. Tennis lessons range from CFA 2,000 to 5,000 or about $3 to $7 depending on whether or not you are with a club member. First-year dues for new members are CFA 230,000 ($315) and CFA 180,000 ($247) each year thereafter. Monthly dues are CFA 25,000 ($34) and 65,000 ($89) per trimester.

The Club d'Equitation de Bangui offers horseback riding instruction. Only English saddles are used. Riding lessons are CFA 70,000 ($96) for 10 lessons. Annual membership costs CFA 60,000 ($82) for individuals and CFA 100,000 ($137) for families. Monthly dues are CFA 20,000 ($27).

The country's only golf course, amidst rolling hills, is about 6 miles from the city center, and has 18 holes with rough grass fairways and sand greens. Cost to join is CFA 100,000 ($137) for new members. Monthly dues are CFA 30,000 (around $41) per person.

Boating is almost exclusively outboard motorboating, since the hills near the river, the swift current, and many whirlpools make sailing impossible and canoeing hazardous.

Spectator sports are soccer and basketball matches, bicycle racing, tennis tournaments, volleyball, and occasional boat racing. Marathon races are sometimes sponsored throughout the city.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

One-day trips can be made by car to the falls at Boali, 62 miles northwest of Bangui along a good, paved road (except for the last 3 miles). Pygmy villages, 1-2 hours southwest of Bangui via a paved road, can also be visited. Since air travel is the only feasible mode of transportation for a comfortable trip of any distance from Bangui, frequent changes of scene and relief from climate are not economical or practical.

Entertainment Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Public entertainment is limited. Several restaurants offer fair to good French cuisine at high prices. Several restaurants specialize in African food, and one in Lebanese dishes. No local legitimate theater exists. Concerts are very rarely given, so music lovers should bring a good collection of records, tapes, or CDs. There are two movie theaters that show French or French-dubbed films, some current, some older. Admission prices, as well as quality of sound, vary. The French Cultural Center sponsors several concerts and other events throughout the year.

For your home entertainment, we suggest that you bring a multisystem TV and VCR. Embassy employees own almost exclusively VHS video systems. There are several video clubs in town that stock SECAM or PAL tapes (in French). Cassettes are also exchanged individually, since many people have lined up an exchange with friends and family in the U.S. You may want to bring a voltage stabilizer for any electronic equipment such as stereos, TVs, and VCRs.

A TV and videocassette player is located in the Cultural Center and also in the Chancery lobby, where tapes may be viewed anytime after office hours. Sets are provided for the Ambassador's residence and the DCM's home. The Chancery also has access to AFRTS, CNN and WorldNet News.

Three European-style discotheques operate in Bangui. In non-European quarters, several nightclubs offer open-air dancing, sometimes with live bands.

Good but expensive European photo equipment is sold locally. Camera enthusiasts should bring a good supply of film, flash bulbs, and batteries.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM Most entertaining is in the home. Informal dinners, buffets, and cocktail parties are frequent.

International Contacts Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM Social activity in the Central African and European Communities occur, but consists mainly of receptions and small dinner parties at home. It is necessary to speak French. Social affairs are generally informal, with only a few more formal functions annually.

Hotels have facilities that can be rented for large receptions and dinner parties. Catering services are also available but expensive. The Rotary and Lions Clubs are active. Most recreational clubs occasionally sponsor special social events for members and guests.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The Ambassador and DCM usually receive invitations to national day celebrations. In some cases, such invitations are extended to all diplomatic officers. Dress for most official dinners and receptions is suits for men and street-length or long dresses for women.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Senior Mission officers make calls on government officials and members of the diplomatic corps. Since the calls expected from newly assigned officers' spouses vary, details can be obtained on arrival at post. It is possible to have invitations and cards printed locally, but prices are higher and quality varies. Staff personnel should bring a small supply of informal cards. No engraving is done locally, but printing service is acceptable.

Special Information Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Road travel in the central part of the country is risky due to the presence of highway bandits. Well-armed poachers sometimes threaten hunters in northern parks. When taking photographs, exercise discretion. Local authorities are often sensitive about photos being taken, which they believe would compromise the country's security or reflect unfavorably on the country. Avoid these subjects: the Palace, private residences owned by the government, airports and military installations, as well as beggars, physically deformed people, and bare-breasted women.

Post Orientation Program

The Administrative Section is responsible for coordinating the arrival, settling in, and briefing of newly assigned personnel. Newcomers are met at the airport and orientation materials made available at the outset.

Orientation sessions are generally scheduled for newcomers and adult dependents with the Ambassador, DCM, administrative officer, and others, as appropriate, within the first 2 weeks. A sponsor is also assigned to assist during the settling-in period, showing newcomers where to shop and generally introducing them to life at post.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Airfreight from the U.S. takes 3-6 weeks to arrive in Bangui. Be sure to follow up with the State Department Transportation Office before departure and try to get an airway bill number if possible. Use your accompanied baggage (UAB) allowance to bring clothing and special food (dietary food) that may be required in the first weeks after arrival. Pack airfreight very thoughtfully. If a holiday or birthday occurs within that period, bring what you need to celebrate. Consign airfreight to the American Ambassador, American Embassy (owner's initials), Bangui, Central African Republic—routed via Paris if coming from Washington, South America, or the Far East. No special restrictions exist for such shipments.

HHE, consumables and UAB sent by surface shipment should be packed in sturdy boxes, crates, or lift vans lined with waterproof paper. Surface shipment to Bangui takes from 2 to 4 months from the U.S. East Coast or other parts of the world. HHE are routed to Douala or ELSO Antwerp and air freighted from Douala or Paris to Bangui. All surface shipments must be marked as follows and forwarded at the earliest possible date to arrive within the first 6 months of your tour of duty:

American Embassy (Owner's Initials) Bangui, Central African Republic Via ELSO Antwerp in transit

Maximum dimension of crates for Bangui is 84 inches in height, 72 inches in width, and 160 inches in length. Do not exceed this size, since neither location does repacking. Vehicles are shipped to the above address.

Upon arrival in Douala, the vehicle is cleared and forwarded to Bangui usually via land. Vehicles should be containerized, as they are trucked from Douala on open trucks. Average transit time for vehicles is 2 to 5 months. Small vehicles may be airfreighted. Embassy warehouse personnel pack well under supervision, and a stock of packing materials is maintained. You may wish to retain special packing cartons or materials.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

U.S. Government personnel are permitted duty-free entry of personal effects up to 6 months after their arrival at post. Contact the post regarding the importation of vehicles by staff personnel.

Packages addressed to U.S. Government employees are normally cleared duty free by the post office and no special restrictions apply. But when packages are delivered through the local post office, a small fee, which covers air transportation or surface mail from Douala to Bangui, is often charged. International mail service is unreliable; send packages to post through Department facilities when possible.

Passage Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

Visas are required for entry and can be obtained from a Central African Republic embassy abroad or from a French embassy. In emergencies, airport visas can be issued if the Embassy is advised in advance but should be obtained, whenever possible, before arrival.

To enter the country, travelers must have the standard international certificate of vaccination or its equivalent and yellow fever and occasionally cholera immunization certificates. (Note that the yellow fever immunization does not become effective until 10 days after injection.) Those with diplomatic passports encounter no problem with customs formalities; other may be required to submit to baggage inspection.

Pets Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

No quarantine requirements exist for pets. They must have a rabies vaccination certificate and a certificate of good health. Pets must be shipped as accompanying baggage, and are normally cleared and delivered to the owners immediately upon arrival of the plane carrying them. Limited veterinary service is available. Employees are able to have local pets.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

U.S. Government personnel assigned to Bangui may import up to two sporting firearms (rifles and shotguns only; no handguns) with advance authorization from the Ambassador or Chargé d' Affaires. Write well in advance of arrival with make/model/caliber/serial number for authorization. Shipping restrictions and local laws must be strictly observed.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

The unit of currency is the CFA (Communaute Financiere Africaine, African Financial Community) franc issued by the Banque Centrale des Etats de l'Afrique Centrale et du Cameroun (Central Bank of Central Africa and Cameroon). France guarantees unlimited convertibility of the CFA franc into metro francs at the rate of 700 francs CFA to 1 Euro. The current exchange rate is US$1=655 francs CFA.

The metric system of weights and measures is used.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

These titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

History and Politics Kalck, Pierre. C.A.R. Failure in Decolonization. Pall Mall: London, 1971

O'Toole, Thomas. The Central African Republic. Westview Press: Boulder, Colorado, 1986. (These two books are by far the best on the history and politics of the C.A.R. Kalck goes up until the late 1960s, and O'Toole brings matters up to date.)

Lerner. Central African Republic in Pictures. Visual Geographic Series: 1992. (Available from the bookshop at the Museum of African Art in Washington. Aimed at older kids, but suitable for all.)

Kalck, Pierre and O'Toole, Thomas. Historical Dictionary of the C.A.R. Scarecrow Press: 1992. (This is a compendium of name and events. It is an excellent reference with a terrific bibliography).

West, Richard. Congo. Holt, Rinehart, Winston: 1972. Also published in the U.K. as The River Congo. (West describes European exploration of the Congo and Oubangui rivers; an excellent study of Pierre Savorgnan de Brazza).

Pakenha, Thomas. The Scramble for Africa. Random House: 1991. (The encompassing work on European colonization of the continent. The chapters on Brazza and the French are relevant).

Shoumatoff, Alex. African Madness. Knopf: 1980. (A fascinating chapter on Bokassa).

Decalo, Samuel. The Psychosis of Power. Westview Press: Boulder, Colorado. (A more academic look at Bokassa).

Gide, Andre. Travels in the Congo. Translation by D. Bussey. University of California Press: Berkeley, 1962 (Gide investigated colonial oppression in Oubangui Chari in the early 1920s).

Weinstien, Brian. Ebou. Oxford University Press: New York, 1972. (A biography of Felix Ebou who served as a colonial official in Oubangui Chari for 20 years. As governor he led Equatorial Africa to the Free French during WWII).

Fiction Maran, Rene. Batouala. African Heritage Series. (This novel won the Prix Goncourt, France's highest literary honor, in 1923, the first by a black author [Mayan was Antillean]. A colonial administrator in Grimari, Maran's novel deals with values in flux as traditional society confronts the modern world).

Gary, Romain. The Roots of Heaven. (This novel set in Chad and northern Oubangui-Chari delves into the impact Africa has on the souls of Europeans who have cast heir lots in Africa.)

Conrad, Joseph. Heart of Darkness. (The classic story of personal change wrought by the jungle.)

Adventure Sarno, Louis. Songs from the Forest. (Seeking enlightenment via pygmy music, Sarno came to the C.A.R. and was adopted by a pygmy band. His story.)

Stevens, Steve. Malaria Dreams. Atlantic Monthly Press: 1992. (A cynical description of a visit to Bangui to retrieve a Land Rover and drive it back to England).

Nugent, Rory. Drums Along the Congo. Houghton Mifflin: 1993. (An entertaining albeit cynical story of one man's quest for Central Africa's remaining dinosaur. Although set in the neighboring Congo, the forest is much the same).

Mattiessen, Peter. African Silences. Vintage: 1992. (Has a chapter on his visit to the Bayanga reserve to locate pygmy elephants).

Guidebooks Newton. Central Africa. Lonely Planet Guidebooks: 1992. (Guidebooks for those on a shoestring; nonetheless the most comprehensive and up-to-date guidebook available on the C.A.R.).

In French Pean, Pierre. Bokassa Premier. Thierry Jacques Gallo. N'Garaqba Maison des Morts. L'Harmattan: Paris.

Hochschild, Adam. King Leopold's Ghost.

Kapuscinski, Ruzard. Under the African Sun.

Kingsolver, Brabara. Poisonwood Bible.

Rong, Michela. In the Footsteps of Mr. Kurtz.

Additional Reading Hochschild, Adam. King Leopolds Ghost.

Kapuscinski, Ruzard. Under the African Sun.

Kingsolver, Barbara. Poisonwood Bible

Local Holidays Last Updated: 1/31/2003 6:00 PM

New Year's Day January 1 CAR/USA Martin Luther King, Jr. January 21 USA President's Day February 18 USA Anniversary of President Boganda's Death March 29 CAR Easter Monday April 1 CAR Labor Day May 1 CAR Ascension Day May 9 CAR Whit Monday May 20 CAR Memorial Day May 27 USA Independence Day July 4 USA Republic Day August 13 CAR Assumption Day August 15 CAR Labor Day September 2 USA Columbus Day October 14 USA All Saints Day November 1 CAR Veteran's Day November 11 USA Thanksgiving Day November 28 USA Independence Day* December 1 CAR Christmas December 25 CAR/USA

* Holiday to be observed on the following Monday.

Adapted from material published by the U.S. Department of State. While some of the information is specific to U.S. missions abroad, the post report provides a good overview of general living conditions in the host country for diplomats from all nations.
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