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Preface Last Updated: 2/24/2005 8:19 AM

Bienvenue à Niamey! You'll soon see that Niamey is one of the most exotic capitals in Africa. Camels are spotted daily, carrying a jostled rider, bundles of firewood, or piles of straw matting. The inhabitants are diverse--coastal West Africans, Tuaregs (the famed blue men of the desert), Arab traders, Hausa, Djerma, Songhi, and Peul, and all can be seen as you drive the short distance from home to the office. Around town, traffic is light by West African standards. Most newcomers are surprised by how green the city and countryside can become in the rainy season. In the evening, you can pull up a seat on the terrace of the Grand Hotel overlooking the river, sip a cool drink, and watch the sun sink colorfully below the horizon. Getting out of the city is easy, too, and there are ample opportunities for day trips: picnicking along the Niger River; looking for giraffes just outside of town; or camping at the Park "W" Wildlife Preserve--home to elephants, lions, buffalo, antelope, and exotic birds less than 3 hours away.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 2/24/2005 8:29 AM

The Republic of Niger covers 1,267,000 square kilometers (490,000 square miles) and is larger than Texas and California combined. Landlocked, it is bordered by seven countries—Algeria and Libya to the north, Chad to the east, Nigeria and Benin to the south, Burkina Faso to the southwest, and Mali to the west. Niger is in the heart of the Sahel, the transitional zone between the tropical West African coast and the Sahara Desert. Northern Niger is part of the Sahara, with vast expanses of rocky and sandy wilderness broken only by occasional oases. "Sahel" in Arabic means "border." From north-central Niger to its northeast corner are the Air and Djado Mountains with peaks rising to 1,850 meters (6,000 feet) while partially arable savanna is found south of the 15th parallel.

Niger's capital city, Niamey, sits on the banks of the Niger River, which flows through much of West Africa and is the 12th longest river in the world and the third-longest in Africa.

Niamey's climate varies with distinct seasons. April and May are the hottest months, with noontime temperatures often rising above 48°C (118°F) in the shade. Direct sunlight is intense during this period, and at night temperatures remain above 20°C (80°F). In May, the first rains come to the usually parched landscape and with them the planting of millet and sorghum, the major food crops. Niamey gets on average 55.8 centimeters (22 inches) of rainfall between June and September, normally in short torrential downpours preceded by high winds and dust or sand storms. At this time, the surrounding countryside takes on a verdant hue as the crops and the native grasses begin to grow. The rainy season is followed by a short period of hot, humid weather in October during which temperatures range between 15°C (60°F) and 45°C (112°F).

From November to March, the weather is dry and pleasant. During this season, clear days are interspersed with hazy, overcast skies caused by the "harmattan"--a hot, dry wind carrying dust from the Sahara. Normally, the winds stay at high altitudes, creating slightly overcast skies; the harmattan, however, occasionally causes localized dust storms.

Population Last Updated: 2/24/2005 8:28 AM

An estimated 11 million people live in Niger. The Hausa, whose territory extends into northern Nigeria, predominate in the central portion of the country and are about 56% of Niger's population. They are mainly traders and farmers. The Djerma, who are 22% of the population, are traditionally farmers. They are an ethnic sub-group of the Songhai people, whose great kingdom in the 14th and 15th centuries embraced what is now eastern Mali and western Niger. Because Niger's capital city is in their homeland, the Djerma influence has been strong in the central government, especially since independence. The Fulanis (called Peuls in French) and Tuaregs, who are typically nomadic or semi-nomadic herders, and the Beri-Beri (also known as Kanuri) who are found in the Lake Chad Region, are the next largest population groups. The remainder of the population is composed of Arabs, Tubu, and Gourmantche.

About 90% of Nigeriens live within 161 kilometers (100 miles) of the country's southern border. In addition to Niamey, four cities have populations over 50,000--Maradi and Zinder, both close to the southern border, as well as Agadez and Tahoua, both in the north. Most Nigeriens live in rural areas away from good roads and almost 90% are subsistence farmers who grow millet and sorghum for food and peanuts, cotton, and cowpeas as cash crops.

Although French is the official and administrative language, Hausa is more widely spoken throughout the country, as it is the first language of over half the population. English is a required language in secondary schools, and some Nigeriens speak English functionally well; however, French is necessary for shopping, social life, and most professional contacts. Oftentimes, a little knowledge of Djerma, even the most basic of greetings, goes a long way in the Niamey markets as this is the traditional language of many of the farmers who bring their produce to sell. Temasheq is the language of the Tuareg and is the prevalent language spoken in the northern portions of the country, near Agadez.

The majority of Nigeriens are Sunni Moslem and religion is a dominant force in their daily lives. A sense of tradition, fatalism, strong family connections, consideration, and tolerance for others characterize the typical Nigerien's approach to the world. Polygamy is widely practiced and families are generally large. In spite of the high infant mortality rate (248/1,000) and low average life expectancy (46 years), Niger's population is growing at almost 3% a year. Less than 1% of the population is Christian, and the remainder follows traditional religions.

Public Institutions Last Updated: 2/25/2005 4:47 AM

Niger is a republic that returned to democracy in 1999, following coups d'etat in 1996 and 1999, and continued efforts to consolidate a democratic system and a constitutional government. On December 4, 2004, Tandja Mamadou was elected to his second 5-year presidential term with 65 percent of the vote in an election that international observers called generally free and fair. Four parties joined the ruling coalition of the National Movement for the Development of Society (MNSD) and the Democratic and Socialist Convention (CDS) to win 88 of the 113 seats in the National Assembly. On December 24, Tandja re-appointed MNSD party president Hama Amadou as Prime Minister.

The government maintains and promotes an open economic system, has a free-trade policy, and welcomes foreign investment. Beginning in 1998, several previously government-owned industrial enterprises and utilities—also known as "parastatals"—have been privatized and more privatization should occur in the coming years. One of the government's most important aims is to stimulate economic growth by attracting foreign investments. Although donor organizations provided most of the capital budget in the past, private sector financing is increasingly sought, especially in the mining sector. Numerous development projects are funded by multilateral and bilateral donors, including the World Bank and the African Development Bank, and all the United Nations agencies, such as UNDP and UNICEF, as well as foreign assistance from the U.S., France, the European Economic Community (EEC), Germany, and other countries.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 2/24/2005 8:51 AM

Niger is a culturally rich society, but French is often required to fully partake in this cultural richness. All Embassy employees and their dependents are encouraged to participate in the Embassy's French language program.

The Centre Culturel Franco-Nigerien and the Centre Culturel Oumara Ganda both sponsor a variety of African cultural activities, including wrestling, dancing, films by local and international filmmakers, concerts and art exhibits. The Musée National du Niger offers a diverse array of exhibits from handicrafts, weapons, and costumes of the different ethnic groups, to palaeontological treasures discovered in the northern portion of the country, to a small zoo. The Musée‚ also houses an artisans' centre, where you can see how the various crafts from different ethnic groups are made. Best known, perhaps, is the art and craftwork of the Tuareg, especially their silverwork. Other artisans specialize in wood carvings, leatherwork, embroidery, batik and brightly colored Djerma cloth. Islam's influence can be seen at the Grande Mosquée, which is open to visitors.

The University of Niamey offers a wide variety of educational opportunities to Nigeriens. The University does, however, suffer from budgetary constraints, and classes are sometimes canceled. Private entities also offer post-secondary education or adult training, mainly in agriculture-related areas. Ties exist between the University of Niamey and Penn State, North Carolina and Boston universities to facilitate the exchange of professors and students. A few Arabic countries also finance Islamic schools. There are numerous public and secondary schools throughout the country, but only 30% of grade school-aged children and less than 20% of young girls attend school regularly. The government is working to increase girls' attendance in primary school.

The American School of Niamey (ASN) is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and maintains membership in the Association of International Schools in Africa. At the beginning of the 2004-2005 school year, enrollment was 44 students ranging from pre-kindergarten through grade 8. Students come from 10 different countries. U.S. Correspondence study courses are available for high-school students upon request. The curriculum is similar to those of U.S. public schools. Instruction is in English, but all grades receive significant French-language instruction. Some parents send their children to Lycée Lafontaine, a French primary/secondary school. Ecole Alliance and Petit Pas are popular pre-schools of choice.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 2/24/2005 8:59 AM

Niger's industry and commerce sector makes up only 6% of the national economy. The uranium industry generates substantial employment and revenue for the government, but it has few linkages with the rest of the economy. Modern production facilities are concentrated in Niamey and in Arlit, the uranium-producing area. State-owned or recently privatized manufacturing companies produce cloth, dairy products, soaps, perfumes, biscuits, and beer. The largest industrial entity is the electric company. Niger has sizable coal reserves that suggest potential for further electrical generation; however, this option has not yet been explored. Talented artisans produce mats, baskets, pottery goods, furniture, farm tools, leather goods, and are known especially for their silver jewelry. Artisanal production takes place throughout the country.

Trade, especially long-distance trade, is the traditional route to wealth in Niger. Trading opportunities today are in the importation of manufactured goods from Nigeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Europe, and Asia and in the exportation of cloth, unprocessed agricultural products, and livestock to neighboring countries. Since the devaluation of the CFA franc between 1994-1998, trade statistics show gains for Niger's agricultural products, especially cattle, in regional markets.

Foreign corporations, most of which are French, participate in mining operations. Uranium mining represents Niger's one industry of international importance and its top foreign exchange earner. Declining world demand, however, has reduced revenue from uranium mining to half of what it was in the peak year of 1983. As a consequence, other sectors like banking, construction and transportation, which are largely dependent on the profits once generated by uranium, also remain severely depressed.

Retail trade in Niamey is concentrated in two public markets: private shops in the central section of town, and shops in residential areas. Fresh food products are sold at retail at a public, open-air market called the "Petit Marché" (Little Market). Other consumer goods are sold at an enclosed market, the "Grand Marché" (Big Market), where private traders rent stalls or shops. A wide variety of products, from TVs to matches, are sold in central Niamey. Markets outside Niamey are generally held weekly and are places where local agricultural products and livestock are exchanged for food, clothing, household supplies, and cash.

The economic system is completely open to foreign trade and foreign investment. There are proven oil reserves and several concessions have been granted. Food drying or other food processing is mostly an untapped market, particularly for onions, tomatoes, peppers and fruits as well as processing of peanuts and sesame for oil. Light manufacturing has become more competitive by devaluation of the CFA franc, which has halved the cost of local inputs, especially labor.

About 90% of Niger's population earn their living in agricultural pursuits. Productivity and incomes are low, even by African standards, and most households can barely afford to satisfy basic needs. The market for more expensive consumer goods is limited to the higher salaried civil servants, a small class of Nigerien entrepreneurs, and the foreign community residents concentrated in Niamey. The high prices of most imported consumer goods, reflecting high transportation costs and import duties, put them out of reach for most Nigerien households. There are substantial seasonal and local variations in prices, especially for food items. Even with the high prices, Niger has maintained the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and Bretton Woods Institutions' target rate of a 3% annual economic growth rate since January 1998.


Automobiles Last Updated: 2/25/2005 4:54 AM

Most Americans feel a private car is a must to get to and from work, shop, attend social functions, and for trips outside Niamey. It is the Mission's policy to provide official vehicles to employees for transportation to and from work only while the employee's vehicle is en route. If you plan to make extensive trips out of Niamey, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is strongly recommended. The post is allowed shipment of foreign cars on travel orders. Used cars may be found locally, but the post does not recommend this as a primary source for a vehicle, as the choice is limited and availability is erratic. If you import a luxury 4x4 such as a Toyota Land Cruiser, we recommend selecting some color other than white. Although car theft is rare in Niamey, white Toyota Land Cruisers have been targeted. A different color vehicle would be more noticeable to police in tracking a reported theft, and thus might deter theft. Repainting can be done locally.

Most passenger cars in Niamey are European or Japanese makes with Peugeot and Toyota being the most popular models. Some Peugeot, Toyota, Chrysler, and Jeep dealers in Niamey have reasonable stocks of spare parts. Except for Chrysler and Jeep, few American passenger cars are found in Niger, and spare parts for these vehicles must come from the U.S. Regular 87-octane gasoline is available for purchase but lead-free gasoline is not; therefore, it is recommended that you have the catalytic converter professionally disabled prior to shipment if you plan eventually to take the vehicle back to the United States.

Except for major routes that are paved, roads are rough and dusty. For basic driving in Niamey, a regular car works fine, but heavy-duty suspension is recommended. Air-conditioning is considered a necessity because of blowing sand and intense heat. Bring basic tools and spare parts. A service manual is helpful as well. Avoid plastic seat covers.

Members of government agencies (State and DOD, but not Peace Corps) are allowed to import one car per employee per tour, duty free. If additional vehicles are required, employees may import the vehicle(s), but will be required to pay import duty. The second vehicle(s) will be registered with non-diplomatic license plates.

In accordance with local law, post policy requires all drivers to have third-party liability insurance that must be obtained from a local insurance company. This costs about $120 per year. You may obtain full comprehensive insurance coverage from a local company as well, but it is expensive and you would do better through a U.S. company.

A Nigerien or international driver's license is required. An international driver's license is respected by the GON, and should be obtained before arrival at post for all family members who drive. Otherwise, drivers must turn in their valid U.S. driver's license to the Foreign Ministry, which issues a Nigerien driver's license, and then keeps the U.S. driver's license for the duration of the employee's tour. This becomes awkward for those needing the U.S. license when on R&R or away from post for any reason. When traveling to the U.S., the Ministry will, upon request, return the license. Obtaining the license also requires three photos, a translation of the U.S. license, an official letter stating the necessity of the license, a copy of the owner's passport, and payment of a fee (about $10).

Local Transportation Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Private taxis in Niamey are numerous and inexpensive, but most American Mission personnel are urged not to use them, due to safety and security issues. There is also a long-distance bus system that services main routes that is used only by the locals and by the Peace Corps.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 2/25/2005 4:57 AM

International flights are available to some of the capitals of neighboring Francophone countries and to Paris. Niamey is a 6-hour flight from Paris. Currently, the major foreign flag airlines servicing Niamey are Air Burkina, Air Senegal, Air France, and Royal Air Maroc. Air travel is expensive in Africa—a ticket from Niamey to Paris costs about 50% more than a ticket from Paris to New York. Currently, no scheduled local air service to Niger's major cities is available. Local missionary groups and companies do have charter flights to Agadez, and space is occasionally available.

Niger's road network, totaling about 8,000 kilometers, is still rudimentary and the country has about 2,500 kilometers of paved interurban roads. In the cities (Niamey included), the main roads are paved, but the majority of the residential roads are dirt; both are full of potholes. Very few of the roads are marked by any sort of a road sign. A paved road extends West-East from Tillaberi through Niamey to Nguigmi, near Lake Chad. The main road from Niamey to the Burkina Faso border was newly paved in 2004 and is one of the better, well traveled routes. However, from Niamey to the Burkina border, and from Niamey to the Benin border, the main road is heavily pockmarked and it is impossible to drive faster than 45mph without risking serious damage to the vehicle. A second major paved road links Niamey through Agadez to the uranium-mining region of Arlit. Stretches of washboard surfaces alternate with drifted sand and dirt, and some sections are inaccessible during part of the rainy season.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 1/21/2004 9:17 AM

Niamey has adequate telephone, telegraph, and fax facilities. Direct dialing is possible from Niamey to Europe, the U.S., and other parts of Africa (excluding 800 numbers and collect calls), but it is very expensive. A direct-dial call from the U.S. to Niger is less than half the cost of a call the other way around. Individuals coming to post should explore U.S. dial-back telephone services. All Embassy-leased houses have telephones.

Internet Last Updated: 1/21/2004 9:20 AM

The Embassy and Public Diplomacy are connected to OpenNet+ and service is fast, reliable and secure. Local internet service is slow at best, especially during peak hours of usage (Monday through Friday, 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The parastatal Internet company has been unable to keep up with an extraordinary increase in demand for service. The fastest connection (up to 33.6) can be achieved between midnight and 7:00 a.m. and on the weekends. The cost for the service is per minute. For the average user, monthly bills will range from $40 to $70. The start-up fee is approximately $20.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:02 AM

Incoming air pouch service from Washington is scheduled twice a week --Monday and Friday. Outgoing pouch to Washington is scheduled twice a week-- Wednesday and Friday. Letter mail, bearing U.S. postage, is accepted by the Department of State for air pouch delivery to post. You may use the pouch for outgoing letters to be placed in the U.S. postal system, after affixing appropriate U.S. postage at the first-class rate. Service can take up to three weeks each way for both enveloped and packaged mail. Bring extra stamps to post. Use the following address for air pouch service:

Name 2420 Niamey Place Dulles, VA 20189-2420

Direct-hire U.S. personnel may receive packages weighing less than 50 pounds via surface-to-air pouch. These packages should not exceed 17x18 x32 inches. The only packages that may be sent from post to the U.S. through the State Department pouch system are clothing being returned for exchange or refund (which was purchased after arrival at post and was not part of your HHE), a maximum of two video tapes at one time, exposed rolls of camera film, and medical items, such as prescription eyeglasses. All employees should familiarize themselves with "6 FAM" (Foreign Affairs Manual 6) to avoid violating pouch regulations.

American contract personnel may send and receive only first-class enveloped mail weighing up to one pound. Two pounds of project materials may be received if the envelope is marked "Project Material." No merchandise, magazines, or periodicals may be received or sent by contract personnel.

APO facilities are not available in Niamey. International airmail letters to or from the U.S. East coast take 6-10 days. You can use international parcel post for packages and magazines, and although it can sometimes take months, the service is generally reliable. For express and direct mail use the following international address:

Name American Embassy Rue des Ambassades B. P. 11201 Niamey, Niger West Africa

Radio and TV Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:02 AM

Radio Niger (ORTN) broadcasts in French and in local languages (primarily Hausa and Djerma) from morning to night on four channels, medium and short wave. Reception of Voice of America (VOA) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is also good. Three private stations, Afrique Numero Un, and Radio France International (RFI) on FM broadcast in French. Battery-operated radios may be used, but others must be able to operate on 220v current or have a step-down transformer.

The Nigerien Government operates a single-channel national TV network 7 evenings a week. Most programs are educational and broadcast in the various languages of the country. Programming normally includes a film or sports event of French origin. U.S.-manufactured TV sets will not receive broadcasts from the Niger TV station. Niger's color TV system is SECAM D/K (Note: It is not the SECAM/L system that is used in France). All direct-hire houses have been installed with the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) satellite receivers. AFRTS has six channels of American programming with a combination of news, sports, drama and sitcoms. A U.S. system TV (NTSC) is required to receive the signal. To receive both AFRTS and local programming, a multisystem TV is necessary. All stereo equipment, TV, and videotape machines should operate on 50Hz and, given power supply fluctuations, it is advisable to use a voltage regulator with any sensitive or valuable equipment. The Mission issues a limited number of voltage regulators per household.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 1/21/2004 9:32 AM

The Nigerian Government publishes a daily newspaper, Le Sahel, in French, which covers selected local, African, and international news. There are also many additional private newspapers, some published daily and others weekly. Most well known international periodicals can be bought in Niamey, including Time, Newsweek, Le Monde, Le Point, Jeune Afrique, The Economist, and the International Herald Tribune.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:04 AM

A Department of State Foreign Service health practitioner and a FSN nurse staff the Embassy Health Unit. The regional medical officer (RMO), based in Bamako, visits Niamey on a quarterly basis. The regional psychiatrist, based in Accra, is available for special consultation. Acute, chronic, and preventive health care is provided through the Health Unit. Most laboratory work is done at the Peace Corps Medical Unit, and a Western-trained English-speaking physician provides backup consultation. A small French clinic, the Gamkalley Clinic, is used for emergency care, hospitalizations, consultations, and x-rays. Specialists in Niamey are used occasionally.

Dental care in Niamey is adequate for most problems, but the providers do not speak English. We recommend that employees and their families have a thorough dental exam and any necessary work completed prior to arrival. Orthodontic work is available periodically in Niamey. Keep in mind, only one visit a year is authorized for dental evacuation.

Medical evacuations are sent to London or the U.S., depending on the nature of the medical problem. Dental evacuations are usually sent to London. Evacuations, which cannot leave by regular commercial flights are handled by SOS, a Swiss emergency air evacuation company based in Geneva that is used by the Department of State Medical Division. All contract personnel should be sure that they, or their employer, have purchased evacuation insurance.

Community Health Last Updated: 1/21/2004 9:39 AM

Infectious diseases pose serious health hazards in Niger, with malaria being one of the most threatening. Chloroquine-resistant malaria prevails, and you must always be on the preventive alert. Current recommended chemical prophylaxis include weekly doses of Mefloquine, daily doses of Doxycycline, or daily doses of Malarone. Meningitis is seasonally reported and vaccination is recommended every 3 years. Rabies is an endemic threat; employees and family members should receive this immunization prior to reporting.

Giardia and amoebiasis are common here. Appropriate preparation of food, drinking treated or purified water and using caution when eating in restaurants will decrease the possibility of contracting these to a minimal level. Respiratory infections, allergies, and fatigue are common problems. Niger is an isolated area, and while the Department does all it can to mitigate risk, a Western level of medical and emergency care is not always achievable here.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:08 AM

The following immunizations are required before leaving for post: yellow fever, typhoid, polio, meningitis, and hepatitis A and B. Annual tuberculin skin tests are strongly recommended. Malaria suppressants are necessary and should be started at least 2 weeks before arrival, continued for the duration of the tour, during any travel, and for 4 weeks after final departure. Mefloquine, and Doxycycline are available at post. Bring a good first-aid kit as well as an ample supply of preferred over-the-counter supplies, sunscreen, insect repellant, and prescription drugs, as airpouch replenishment may be delayed. The post recommends and supplies mosquito netting for beds in each occupied bedroom.

Niamey's water treatment plant is ineffective. All homes have distilling units, and safe bottled water is available. Raw fruits and vegetables that cannot be peeled should be soaked in a bleach solution (1 teaspoon of bleach to 1 gallon of water) and then rinsed with potable water before eating. All local meats should be well cooked ("bien cuit" in French).

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:19 AM

The Mission has been able to provide eligible family member (EFM) employment for dependent spouses wanting to work. Typically, these positions are secretarial or clerical in nature. Occasionally, teaching positions at the American School of Niamey or professional and/or technical-level positions are available through the Peace Corps. Jobs on the local economy are virtually nonexistent due to requirements for work permits and waivers of diplomatic immunity. For all positions, at the Embassy, school, or in the community, French-language skills are recommended. The Mission's U.S. Government agencies offer summer-hire employment for dependent children 16 years of age and older, subject to the availability of funds.

American Embassy - Niamey

Post City Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:22 AM

Niamey, the capital and principal city of Niger, is in the southwest corner of the country on the banks of the Niger River. Since its selection as capital in 1925, its population has grown from 8,000 to about 600,000. The city's 4,000 Europeans, mostly French, almost all provide some kind of developmental assistance. Niamey covers 15.5 square kilometers (6 square miles) and forms a triangle that borders the river. An abundance of trees gives the city a greenness that contrasts with the general aridity of the surrounding countryside.

Niamey is a critical crime threat post and random acts of violence do occur, however infrequently. When individuals take proper safety and security precautions, the city is generally considered safe. In general, Nigeriens are very friendly and affable toward all Americans. As in all economically poor countries, one can expect to see individuals, especially children and the handicapped, asking for a "cadeau" on street corners and in front of markets. As an American, you tend to be easily identified and are generally assumed to be wealthy.

The post consists of members of the Department of State, DOD, the Peace Corps, and a Marine Security Guard Detachment. The Public Diplomacy operates a Cultural Center that contains a small library and exhibit room/auditorium. It sponsors English-language classes, cultural presentations, and visitor programs for non-Americans. About 100 Peace Corps volunteers work throughout the country in public health, education, agriculture, and natural resources. The Embassy performs normal diplomatic and consular functions and provides full or partial administrative support for other agencies through a Joint Administrative Office (JAO).

The Embassy's telex is EmbNia 5444NI. Office hours (Monday-Friday) and telephone numbers are as follows (227 is the international country code):

Embassy (227) 72-26-6 1/2/3/4 8:00 am-4:30 pm After hours (227) 72-31-41

Public Diplomacy (227) 73-31-69 8:00 am-noon and 12:30 pm-4:30 pm

Peace Corps (227) 75-32-38/39/40 8:00 am-4:30 pm ODC (227) 72-26-70 8:00 am-4:30 pm

FAO (227) 72-26-61/2/3/4 8:00 am-4:30 pm

A Marine Security Guard (MSG) is on duty in the Chancery 24 hours daily, 7 days a week. The Chancery is located on an 11-acre U.S. Government-owned plot on the edge of town. The Ambassador's residence is situated nearby, also on U.S. Government-owned land. The Public Diplomacy Cultural Center is near downtown and the Peace Corps is located near the stadium on the opposite side of Niamey from the Chancery.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Occasionally, newcomers must stay in a hotel (usually Hotel Sofitel Gaweye) until permanent housing is available. The Hotel Gaweye has comfortable, air-conditioned rooms, a large pool, and a restaurant.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:54 AM

Employees are housed in government-leased quarters. Usually, employees move into their permanent quarters upon arrival. Approximately half of the Mission housing is located predominantly in an area of Niamey known as Yantala, considered as a "downtown" area of the capital. The other half of the Mission housing is located in a neighborhood called Kwara Kano. This neighborhood is closer to the Embassy, but not as established as a residential area as Yantala--houses often border with empty lots. Most employees live only about 5 minutes by car from the Chancery. Most houses are of similar design and consist of three or four bedrooms, a moderate sized living room, dining room (which is sometimes combined with the living room), kitchen, baths, and a small, usually screened terrace or patio. All houses have adequate storage facilities and, except those occupied by Peace Corps staff, small swimming pools. Most swimming pool equipment is provided by the Embassy (a skimmer, a vacuum and hose, a pole with brush, and life ring). the chemicals, however, are the responsibility of the employee. Pool chemicals including algae "shocker", ph kits, and chlorine tablets are available locally all year round, but are more expensive than in the U.S. The average amount spent on maintaining the pool is $50 per month.

Please do not attempt to bring the pool chemicals from the U.S., since the UAB, HHE and consumables are all flown by air. The transportation counselors will not allow you to pack them in your shipments, as they are considered hazardous air cargo.

Furnishings Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:55 AM

All government-leased quarters are provided with basic furniture, including lamps. Special items, such as baby furniture, are not supplied. Most houses are equipped for curtains and a curtain allowance is authorized. Rugs are issued for at least four rooms. Furnishings include water purifiers, garbage cans, garden tools and hoses, gasoline lawn mowers, stepladders and step stools, a 220v vacuum cleaner, and at least three transformers in addition to other government-issued appliances. In addition to basic furnishings and equipment, each house is provided with a gas stove (which, for direct hires, uses Mission-provided bottled gas), a distiller, an electric refrigerator, a freezer, a microwave, washer, and electric clothes dryer. One set of metal veranda furniture is provided as well.

All bedrooms and the living/dining room areas are air-conditioned. Electric current in Niamey is 220v, 50Hz, so all 110v electrical equipment (e.g., mixers, sewing machines, and stereos) must be able to operate on 50Hz and be used with a transformer. To avoid needing transformers with all your small appliances, bring any 220v appliance you can. Niamey experiences periodic power surges, so use a voltage regulator with stereo and computer equipment.

(Note: as Peace Corps furnishings vary somewhat from the above, personnel should contact Peace Corps/Niger for a list of what is provided.)

Shopping in Niamey is limited. Although imported items are available, they tend to be expensive, and unfamiliar. Household items you feel are necessary and not provided by the Embassy should be brought with you. The CLO will provide a detailed list of desirable items. In general, consider bringing items in your HHE such as holiday items, 220v appliances, kitchen appliances, and toys.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Two phones are supplied to each residence. The monthly phone service, as well as Internet connections and all associated fees, is the responsibility of the employee. The Mission supplies appliances and furnishings as mentioned above, as well as the following equipment for each house: water purifiers, garbage cans, garden tools and hoses, gasoline lawn mowers, stepladders and step stools, a pool vacuum and skimmer, a 220v vacuum cleaner, and three transformers. For direct hires, the Mission also supplies propane gas for the kitchen stove, and covers bills associated with electricity and water.

The employee is responsible for pool chemicals (see Permanent Housing section), yard fertilizer and plants for the yard.

Food Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:57 AM

Niamey has three Western-style grocery stores, and numerous small, well-stocked "shacks". Local markets and grocery stores offer a good variety of seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as imported canned goods and dairy products. Some fresh fruits and vegetables are imported, but most are grown locally; prices for all imported goods are generally high. Beer, Coca-Cola, Sprite, Fanta, Youki (tonic), and Bulvit (soda water) are bottled locally, and availability is consistent. Alcoholic drinks and wine are available in grocery stores, and Embassy employees can purchase good quality French wines duty-free from a local supplier at very reasonable prices.

Local beef, veal, pork, lamb, and chicken are plentiful. A local white fish called "capitaine," a variety of Nile perch found in the Niger River, is plentiful and delicious. Bakeries sell French-style baguettes, delicious croissants, and various pastries.

Personnel assigned to Niamey are authorized a special consumables allowance. This allowance varies according to the agency. Contact the specific agency for details. As most grocery store food items are European products sold at slightly higher prices than American equivalents in the U.S., most families choose to use the entire allowance. You may use part of your consumables allowance before arrival, concentrating on basic supplies (such as laundry detergent, paper products, bath soaps, lotions and toiletries, etc.) and any favorite brand items, and then order the remainder of your allowance after arrival. Baby foods can be found easily in local markets, but again are more expensive. An employee has up to one year from date of orders to use the shipping allowance, provided the weight allowance has not been reached.

Clothing Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Bring an ample supply of clothing to Niamey, as frequent washing and strong sunlight take a heavy toll. Shoes and sneakers tend to wear out quickly. Clothing selections should be made bearing in mind the informal dress standards of the community (work and otherwise), the hot climate, and seasonal variations. Although dry cleaning is available, the quality of service and the high cost limit its use, so washable fabrics are preferable. Cotton is a good choice, as it will keep you cooler than synthetics. Despite fairly high daytime temperatures, during the cool season (November-February), evening temperatures sometimes drop low enough to require sweaters or lightweight jackets. Bring all sports clothes and gear with you, as the local supply is limited and expensive. Bring some warm clothes for possible trips to the U.S. or Europe during winter months.

Men Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Casual attire worn in the U.S. is the dress for the office and most social occasions. Jackets and neckties are rarely worn in the office, but are worn at official and at some diplomatic functions. Formal dinner clothes are rarely worn, although tuxedos are appropriate at the annual Marine Corps Ball. The Ambassador's Fourth of July diplomatic reception requires a business suit.

Women Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:58 AM

A 2-year supply of washable summer clothing is recommended, as is a good sunhat. Except at the senior level, most women probably will not need a formal gown, but casual summer dresses are popular, as are shorter evening dresses. Stockings are rarely worn, even during the cool season. Sand is found virtually everywhere, so closed shoes are highly recommended; however, sandals are frequently worn by both women and men. Shorts, jeans, and slacks are worn frequently by American and European women when socializing in the expatriate community. More modest attire (e.g., skirts or dresses that cover the knee, loose-fitting slacks, and shirts that are not too bare or form fitting) is more culturally appropriate and, therefore, recommended for around town.

Local tailors do satisfactory work on simple dresses, men's shirts, and safari-type suits as well as exceptional decorative embroidery. A variety of imported and local fabric is available, the latter being particularly popular for casual clothing. Thread and other notions can be found, but their quality is not the best. Bring a supply of these items, along with patterns, to post. A sewing machine can be useful as well.

Children Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

A generous supply of summer clothing is suggested. The original supply can be supplemented through mail order. Children may require several clothing changes each day because of heat and dirt. Children wear shorts rather than long pants for most of the year, but jeans are popular as well. Bedrooms are air-conditioned so bring pajamas. Bring enough shoes for the duration of the tour. Plastic sandals and thongs are sold at reasonable prices, and small children wear them often.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Small household and personal articles may be less expensive if shipped from the U.S. Mainly French and European products are sold, although some American-brand cosmetics and hair preparations are available locally. Bring a supply of favorite soaps, shampoos, toiletries, sunscreens, vitamins, and dry-skin lotions, which are highly recommended.

Bring all sports equipment (a case of tennis balls is a must for tennis players), books, records/tapes/CDs, cameras, and film. Camera film, color as well as black and white, is sold locally, but at higher than U.S. prices. Color processing for slides and prints is quite good but costs about three times as much as U.S. prices. Local black-and-white processing is poor. Most employees use photo mailers to have film processed in the U.S.

Bring a supply of gift items for all ages to be used for holidays and birthday parties as well as wrapping paper, ribbons, and cards. In addition, each person arriving at post needs about 12 wallet-sized photos, either black and white or color, to be used before departure and after arrival for ID cards, driver's license, and visas.

Basic Services Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

The Mission provides all furniture, furnishings, large appliances and basic maintenance services for homes. Should a problem arise, the GSO serves as a go-between for all servicing of utilities, and for the landlords of the homes. The employee is responsible for providing pool and lawn care.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/25/2005 5:59 AM

Well-trained domestic help is available. Most household staff, except for nannies, are men. Though most Nigerien household staff speak French, it is possible to find some English-speaking cooks and nannies. Salaries range from $75-$150 a month, depending on experience and level of competence. Employers are responsible for a 15.4% contribution of a servant's annual salary to the Niger social security system. Twenty-four-hour guards are provided for security only, and it is against regulations to use guards for any type of domestic work, including gardening, washing cars or swimming pool maintenance.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Most Nigeriens are Moslems, but there is a Roman Catholic Church that holds services in French. In addition, there is an International Christian Fellowship, and English Protestant, English/French International Protestant, and French Assemblies of God worships. There are no scheduled Jewish services.

Education Last Updated: 2/25/2005 6:08 AM

Established in 1982, the American School of Niamey (ASN) is an independent coeducational day school offering pre-kindergarten through grade 9. A 10th-12th-grade correspondence study program in conjunction with the University of Nebraska Independent High School Center is also currently offered. The school year consists of two semesters that begin in late August and end in early June. The school is governed by a seven-member board of directors, six being elected by the ASN Association for one-year terms, and the seventh is appointed by the U.S. Ambassador. Membership in the ASN Association is automatically given to the parents or guardians of students.

The curriculum is similar to those of U.S. public schools. Instruction is in English, but grades 1-9 receive significant French-language instruction. In addition to language arts, reading, math, science, and social studies, the curriculum includes music, art, physical education, computers, and Nigerien studies. English-as-a-Second-Language (ESL) is provided to students who are not already proficient. Standardized achievement tests are administered annually. ASN is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools and is a member of the Association of International Schools in Africa. In the 2004-2005 school year, 44 students were enrolled and the staff consisted of 8 full-time and 3 part-time members. The faculty consists of six Americans, three Nigeriens (two hold degrees from north American Universities). The other two part-time faculty members are from the Netherlands and Russia. Nearly all the faculty possesses teacher certification or equivalent. The students come from 10 different countries.

The ASN facilities are some of the best in Africa. In September 1985, ASN moved into its new buildings located on U.S. Government-owned property adjacent to the Embassy. The facility consists of four single-story, air-conditioned buildings. Two of the buildings include six classrooms, a science lab, and a multipurpose room. The administration building houses the offices, a library, and a computer lab. Another building houses a music/art room, a storage room, and large rooms for pre-kindergarten and kindergarten. The playground area includes softball and soccer fields, and basketball and volleyball courts.

If you wish to enroll your children in the ASN, contact the school in advance and bring records from the previous school. You may call the school at the following numbers: phone (227) 72-39-42, fax (227) 72-34-57.

The French Lycée La Fontaine, is subsidized by the French Ministry of Cooperation and staffed by competent French teachers. Some 1,000 students are currently enrolled. Some non-Embassy American students attend; however, no special provisions are made for non-French speakers. Please notify the post in advance if you plan to enroll your children and provide their birth dates and French-language capability. Several French-language daycare facilities are available for preschool-aged children.

Numerous extracurricular activities such as, piano, Tae Kwon Do, swimming, and French classes are available for children. Classes in horseback riding and jumping for beginners and advanced riders are held at local riding clubs. Private tennis lessons are also available.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 2/25/2005 6:10 AM

The Community Center, operated by the American School, is located adjacent to the Embassy. A swimming pool, tennis and volleyball courts, a softball field, a snack bar, video club, and monthly activities are available to members. The 2004-2005 annual membership fees are $135 per adult and $67 per child. Families with more than 3 children can buy a family membership at the price of 2 adults and 3 children. The Ambassador's residence also has a tennis court and swimming pool, but their use is subject to some restrictions. Softball is very popular, and weekly games are held every Saturday afternoon. American Embassies throughout West Africa host several tournaments during the year. These tournaments provide great pleasure for players and supporters alike, giving them the opportunity to travel to another country taking advantage of group airfares. Both men and women participate in all sports.

People seriously interested in horseback riding might consider purchasing a horse locally; prices are usually reasonable. Boarding at one of the local riding clubs costs about $45 a month (22,000 CFA/month along with the 10,000 CFA membership fee). The riding style is European, and riders must provide their own tack. Other sporting opportunities include the Niamey golf club at Rio Bravo, which has an 18-hole course and sand "browns;" the "Hash House Harriers," which is a weekly international running club; and a health and fitness club at the stadium and local hotel where regular group exercise classes are held. The Marine House, located adjacent to the Embassy, also allows Embassy personnel to utilize the gym facilities.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Though no real change of climate and scenery can be found within a day's drive of Niamey, some interesting excursions can be made by car or plane. Docile and magnificent, the last herd of giraffes in West Africa can be found just outside of Niamey, about a 45-minute drive away. Since they roam a vast area, hire a registered guide (inexpensive) to help you locate them. This trip is one of the most popular ways to spend a weekend morning.

Park "W" is a wildlife preserve located in the extreme southwest part of Niger, flanked by Burkina Faso and Benin. At the edge of the park is a good hotel open all year, or if you prefer to camp, sleeping bags and blankets are available. Park "W" is open during the dry season (from December 1 to May 30) when elephants, gazelles, baboons, waterbuck, an occasional lion, and other animals visit the waterholes along the river. The preserve is a 2-hour drive from Niamey, but most people stay overnight to be at the waterholes by early light. At nearby Arly and Penjari Parks are camps that provide sleeping accommodations and meals if prior arrangements are made in Niamey.

Other day trips might include trips to one of six larger villages within a 2-hour drive from Niamey that have a day-long market; the villages have arranged to have their markets on different days of the week.

The Niamey Museum is considered to be one of the best in West Africa. Original and attractive in conception, it combines traditional exhibits with village reproductions of the major Nigerien ethnic groups. Local artisans work on the grounds, and their products can be purchased either in the Museum gift shop (set price) or from the artisans themselves (bartering involved). A small zoo, housing animals native to Niger, is also located at the Museum. Wadata Artisan Village is another place to visit to purchase local artisans' goods.

Fishing is possible in the Niger River, but the danger of many serious diseases prevents most people from swimming or water skiing. Generally, for more than half of the year, the Niger River is high enough for boating and there is enough wind for sailing. Some families rent a river-hut (approximately $200/-year) for a weekend getaway and change of scenery. Bird watching is also a popular activity in Niamey. Hunting is banned in Niger, but is permitted in Burkina Faso. Other popular activities include canoeing, renting a pirogue for a trip down the river and for hippo watching, bicycling, hiking, and motorcycling.

At the time of publication, no travel restrictions are in effect in Niger. Recent random acts of violence have, however, had a depressing effect on travel and tourism to the desert areas north of Agadez. In Niamey itself, recently enforced security measures restrict Embassy Toyota Land Cruisers usage after dark and a few nightclubs are off-limits to Embassy employees. Current U.S. travel restriction information applicable to Niger can be found at the intranet site

Entertainment Last Updated: 2/25/2005 6:10 AM

Two air-conditioned and four open-air movie theaters show European (mainly French), American, and Indian films. Non-French films are dubbed in French. The Marine House regularly shows relatively recent American movies.

The Franco-Nigerien Cultural Center has several activities each week, including films and art exhibits as well as occasional folk music, dancing, and performances by traveling theater troupes. The Public Diplomacy Cultural Center occasionally sponsors programs of interest to the American community.

Niamey has restaurants serving West African, French, Italian, Vietnamese, Russian, Chinese, and Lebanese cuisine, as well as some snack bars specializing in brochettes or hamburgers and fries. Pizza is available, but a bit different than the familiar American style. Niamey has several lively discotheques featuring a variety of danceable music.

Social Activities Last Updated: 2/25/2005 6:11 AM

Among expatriates, social life is informal and relaxed. The resident diplomatic and international community is rather small and consists of personnel from other Embassies and U.N. agencies. Opportunities in Niamey to meet and associate with diverse people are limited only by the interest and initiative of the individual and, in many cases, by an ability and willingness to speak French. Although Niger is a Moslem country, there are no special limitations for the foreign community regarding food or drink. As for dress, although not strictly enforced, women are expected to dress modestly (see Clothing). Business-style calling cards are useful, but not required, for both employees and spouses. If bringing cards, 200 to 500 cards are sufficient. All-purpose invitation cards can be printed locally but are very expensive.

Apart from those already mentioned, a variety of clubs and activities are also available. The American/Anglophone Women's Club of Niamey (which welcomes members of all nationalities) sponsors a variety of events throughout the year. The Rotary International and Lion's Club are active in Niamey and open to both men and women of all nationalities (bring a letter of introduction from your home club). There is also an international chorus and ensemble that rehearses and performs regularly.

Official Functions Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

The principal official function held in Niamey is the annual Fourth of July celebration at the Ambassador's residence. Other nonofficial, yet regularly held functions include the Marine Birthday Ball, an Easter celebration, an FSN holiday gathering, and the "NUTS" West Africa Regional softball tournament. In general, employees should attend any official functions to which they are invited and are encouraged to participate in nonofficial functions.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 1/21/2004 9:53 AM

Personnel of all agencies who are assigned to Niamey should write to the JAO Director immediately after they are notified of their assignment so that briefing materials can be sent to them.

Most personnel arrive in Niamey by plane, usually coming through Paris via Air France. Cable flight information and arrival time to the post well in advance of your scheduled arrival. Call the Embassy day or night if you are not met at the airport. The Embassy phone number is 72-26-61/2/3/4. The after hours number is 72-31-41.

Household Effects (HHE). The European Logistical Support Office (ELSO), located in Antwerp, Belgium, has been designated as the control office for shipment HHE to and from Niamey. Effects departing the U.S. are shipped to ELSO and then are airfreighted to Niamey. Private vehicles are not flown from Europe but are shipped to the port in Lome, Togo, where forwarding arrangements are made to transport the vehicle by truck overland to Niamey. Vans or crates should be marked:

American Embassy (owner's initials) Niamey, Niger via Antwerp (ELSO) (For automobiles: via Lome, Togo)

Advise packers not to exceed standards for normal air vans.

For each shipment routed through Antwerp, send a complete set of shipping documents (original ocean bill of lading, copy of travel orders, and packing list) to ELSO by fastest reliable mail, with copies to the Embassy in Niamey, attention GSO. The international mailing address for ELSO is:

ELSO Noorderlaan 47 Bus 12A Atlantic House 2030 Antwerp, Belgium

Airfreight. Unaccompanied air baggage (UAB) should be marked in the same manner as the "HHE," but do not identify as "via Antwerp (ELSO)." Advise the post as far in advance as possible of the airway bill number, number of pieces, and shipping weight. Under no circumstances should alcoholic beverages, firearms, ammunition, or corrosive chemicals (such as pool chlorine) be included in this shipment. Send a complete packing list to post as soon as possible.

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Delays in customs clearances are avoided by strict adherence to the addressing and routing instructions above. In particular, all airfreight shipped directly to Niamey must be clearly addressed to the American Embassy.

Passage Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Valid entry visas are required for official personnel arriving in Niamey, for all employees, and all family members. They can be obtained at any Nigerien diplomatic or consular post. Travelers to post who have not obtained a visa should allow several days in Abidjan or Paris to obtain one. Airport visas are available if necessary, but difficult to obtain. The yellow World Health Organization (WHO) vaccination card with a valid yellow fever inoculation is also necessary (State Department vaccination requirements for Niger exceed those required by the country for entry).

Pets Last Updated: 2/25/2005 6:20 AM

Pets arriving at post should have a valid rabies certificate (within 1 year, but before 30 days, of departure for post), a USDA Certificate of Good Health signed by a certified veterinarian and dated within 5 days of boarding the airplane, and a current vaccination card for the pet. Be sure to check with the airline you are using as rules may vary; Air France restrictions tend to be stricter than American carriers. Air France requires all dogs and cats traveling to or transiting through France to be identified with a microchip or tattoo. Generally, it is most cost-effective to take the pet along as "excess baggage" and to fly straight through to post. Complications or unexpected fees may arise if pet is claimed during a connection lay over.

Many American carriers are restricting pet passage; contact the airline well in advance to ensure your pet may travel.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Nigerien law strictly prohibits importation of firearms and ammunition.

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 2/25/2005 8:37 AM

The local currency is the CFA (Communauté Financière Africaine) franc, which is pegged to the Euro. The same currency is used throughout Francophone West Africa. Banks with local branches in Niamey include the Bank of Africa (BAO) and the International Bank of West Africa (BIAO).

The Embassy cashier provides accommodation exchange and will cash personal dollar checks. Employees must make out powers of attorney for dependent spouses in order for them to cash checks as well. Embassy payrolls are prepared in Charleston, S.C. by RAMC, and employees must have their paychecks direct deposited to their U.S. bank. It takes about 6 weeks after arrival at post before pay and allowances are regularly received from Charleston.

Weights and measures in Niger are based on the metric system. Temperatures are reported in Celsius. Niger does not observe Daylight Savings Time—October to April Niamey is six standard time zones ahead of E.S.T. (G.M.T. plus one; same as Paris), and April to October five hours ahead.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

There are no restrictions on sales of reasonable amounts of used personal property when departing post, provided the property was brought in for personal use and not for sale, and is not sold at a profit.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 2/28/2002 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.

Books Beckwith, Carol and Marion Van Offelen. Nomads of Niger.

Boyle, T.C. Water Music.

Clark, Thurston. The Last Caravan.

Emcheta, Buchi. Joys of Motherhood.

Gorer, Geoffrey. Africa Dances.

Gramont, Sanche. The Strong Brown God.

Naylor, Kim and Michael Haag. Discovery Guide to West Africa.

Stoller, Paul and Cheryl Olkes. In Sorcery's Shadow.

Films Beresford, Bruce. Mister Johnson (filmed in northern Nigeria).

Bertolucci, Bernardo. Sheltering Sky.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 2/28/2002 6:00 PM

Along with standard official U.S. holidays, the Mission observes the following Nigerien holidays:

Aid-ar-fit'r/Ramadan* Varies Aid-al-Adha/Tabaski* Varies Muharam* Varies Concord Day April 24 Niger Labor Day May 1 Mouloud* Varies Niger Independence Day August 3 Lailatoul-Quadr Varies Niger Republic Day December 18

*The exact date is determined by lunar sightings.

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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