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Preface Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:05 AM

For Americans coming to sub-Saharan Africa for the first time, Dakar, capital of the Republic of Senegal, affords a moderate and agreeable introduction to the Continent. It is a place of moderation: climate, geography, culture, religion and political ideology. Dakar lies midway between Arab-Mediterranean North Africa and the tropical rain forest countries along the Gulf of Guinea. One of Senegal's principal crops, peanuts, grows well in the sandy, dry soil and climate characteristic of much of the country.

Senegal is a mosaic of a multitude of African populations. Intermixed with its black African culture and heritage are two major external influences: Islam, which arrived in the 11th century, and French colonial rule, which began in the 19th century and ended in 1960. Both influences are evident in most aspects of Senegalese life: the country is now more than 95% Muslim and its institutions reflect a French influence. The official language is French, and is spoken by a slight majority of people. However, Wolof is spoken by a far larger majority of the population (85-90%).

Senegalese society offers unusual opportunities for friendly and enterprising French-speaking Americans. Senegalese are very interested in the U.S., evidenced by the increasing media coverage of the U.S. and deepening knowledge of the U.S. through the Internet. In addition to its still close ties to France, Senegal, politically moderate and democratic, enjoys friendly relations with many other countries.

Senegal also shares many similarities with other sub-Saharan countries, and thus the insight one gains here provide a window into the lives of millions of Africans. As U.S. understanding and interest in Africa grows, the evolution of relations with Senegal will inform our broader national interests.

The Host Country

Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:58 AM

The Republic of Senegal is located on the bulge of West Africa and covers 196,000 square kilometers (76,000 square miles). It is about the size of South Dakota. It is bounded on the west by the Atlantic Ocean and separated from the Islamic Republic of Mauritania to the north by the Senegal River. On the east, Senegal is bordered by the Republic of Mali. The Republics of Guinea and Guinea-Bissau border it on the south. The independent, English-speaking state of The Gambia, straddling the Gambia River, is a fingerlike enclave that protrudes more than 200 miles into Senegal.

Averaging less than 650 feet in elevation, Senegal is mostly flat or rolling plains with savanna-type vegetation. In the southeast, however, plateaus 1640 feet high form the foothills of the Fouta-Djallon Mountains. Marshy swamps interspersed with tropical rain forests are common in the southwest.

North of Dakar on the Cap Vert Peninsula, the coast forms almost a straight line; farther south it is indented by many estuaries and is often marshy. Four major rivers, The Senegal, Saloum, Gambia, and Casamance, flow almost parallel from east to west and each are navigable for a good distance inland.

Senegal has two well-defined seasons: northeasterly winds produce the cool, dry winter season (November to June) and southwesterly winds produce the hot, humid summer (July to October). During winter, Dakar days are invariably sunny with temperatures between 63 and 80° F. During summer, the average temperature is 86° F to 96° F with high humidity. Beginning in January, the harmattan brings dust and sand from the Sahara Desert for 2 or 3 months. Between July and October, Dakar receives 16 - 20 inches of rainfall. Precipitation increases farther south, exceeding 60 inches in parts of the Casamance Region in the southern part of the country. Typically, Senegal is considered a dry, almost desert country with a pleasant climate along the coast and much higher temperatures inland.

Population Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:08 AM

Of Senegal's estimated 10 million inhabitants, 60% live in rural areas. In Senegal, there are an estimated 15,000 French citizens, 35,000-40,000 Lebanese, and a sizeable Cape Verdean community. Mali, Burkina Faso, Guinea and Benin also have large rural contingents in Senegal. The American community in Senegal is approaching 2,000. Dakar has about 1.5 million inhabitants. Four other Senegalese cities surpass 100,000 in population: Kaolack, Thies, Rufisque, and Saint-Louis.

By ethnic group, Senegalese are 44% Wolof, 24% Peulh or Fulani, 15% Serer, 6% Diola, and 5% Mandingo. Smaller ethnic groups include the Sarakole, Moor, Bassari, and Lebou. The population is relatively young and the growth rate is estimated at 2.94% a year. The birth rate is 40 per 1,000, but the mortality rate is also high; 73.6 deaths/1,000 live births. The death rate is 8.57 deaths/1000 population. Life expectancy for the general population is about 62 years, (Males, 60.6 years; Females, 63.82 years).

The Senegalese constitution provides for freedom of religion. Religious institutions are autonomous. About 95% of the population is Muslim, 3% indigenous beliefs, and 2% Christian (mostly Catholic).

Public Institutions Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:09 AM

Senegal's constitution, (revised on January 7, 2001) provides for a strong executive-presidential system. The President (chief of state) is elected by universal adult suffrage to a 5-year term, with a limit of two terms. However, the current President, Abdoulaye Wade, was elected in March 2000 under the provisions of the previous constitution, which permitted a 7-year term. The term limits in the new constitution are not retroactive.

In 1981, then Prime Minister Abdou Diouf constitutionally succeeded to the presidency, replacing President Leopold Sédar Senghor who retired after leading Senegal since independence in 1960. Diouf was elected to a full 5-year term in 1983, reelected to a second 5-year term in 1988, and then reelected to a 7-year term in 1993. Senegal's legislature consists of a 120 member unicameral National Assembly elected by universal adult suffrage. The Deputies serve for a 5-year term.

The highest court in the independent judiciary is the Supreme Court, ruled by presidential appointed judges. For administrative purposes, Senegal is divided into 11 regions, each headed by a Governor appointed by, and responsible to, the President.

The Executive branch consists of: the chief of state, head of government, the Prime Minister, and a cabinet or Council of Ministers appointed by the President in consultation with the Prime Minister.

Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:10 AM

Although the literacy rate for the country as a whole is low (about 30%), Senegal has long been considered the intellectual and cultural center of West Africa. The University of Dakar, with a 2002-2003 student enrollment of approximately 35,000 attracts students from all of francophone Africa. The university maintains faculties in Arts and Letters, Law and Economics, Sciences, Medicine, Journalism, Technology, Library Sciences and Teacher Training. Other university institutes sponsor scientific research in energy, applied linguistics, psychology, and pediatrics. The University's programs of French for Foreign Students offers a year course of language, literature, and civilization.

The Institut Fondamental de l'Afrique Noire (IFAN) museums and ethnographic institute, a division of the University of Dakar, enjoys an international reputation; it receives scholars, researchers, and tourists from all over the world. A second university, Gaston Berger University, was opened in the city of Saint Louis in 1991. It is much smaller in scale compared to the University of Dakar with a 2002-2003 student enrollment of approximately 3,500. This university was modeled after land grant institutions in the U.S.

Senegal publishes multiple newspapers and magazines. Bookstores and newsstands in Dakar do a brisk business. Bookstores carry French-language publications, with Senegalese and other African writers well represented. The works of such well known novelists as Mariama Ba, Aminata Sow Fall, Cheikh Hamidou Kane, and Sembene Ousmane are readily available. Also available are the works of younger writers in affordable paperback editions published by the "Nouvelles Editions Africaines" (NEA). English publications are available at the larger bookstores. Newsstands and supermarkets offer a variety of magazines and newspapers, published in Senegal and abroad. Available international publications include Time, Newsweek, International Herald Tribune, and The Economist.

Senegal's film industry, active and widely admired during the 1960s and 1970s, has suffered in recent years from a scarcity of funding. Only a few filmmakers are able to obtain resources in France or Germany, and the number of films made by Senegalese each year has fallen significantly. However, the industry is being privatized with a new organization (SIMPEC), which is taking charge of film distribution. One cinema in Dakar offers first-run films from Europe and the U.S. (dubbed in French), and several offer "b" European and Indian films. The works of Senegalese and other African filmmakers are occasionally shown on the commercial circuit, and are featured in regular film festivals in Dakar. Under the leadership of former President Senghor, the arts received strong impetus, which, in the face of the current economic situation, could not be sustained. Nonetheless, the country boasts a reservoir of trained artistic talent.

Individuals who studied at the Dakar School of Fine Arts and abroad are now mature practitioners of painting, sculpture, and tapestry weaving. The National Tapestry Works at Thies produces monumental tapestries designed by Diatta Seck, Theodore Diouf, Mamadou Wade, Khalifa Gueye, and Bocar Diong. Their brilliantly colored tapestries reflect African themes, traditions, and folklore in modern Western technique. Senegalese musicians and singers in the traditional "griot" style, Youssou Ndour, Baba Mal, Ismail Lo, Thione Seck and others have emerged as exciting and popular international artists. Another increasingly popular art form is the glass paintings of Gora Mbengue and other artists, depicting customs and habits of ordinary people in urban areas.

The Daniel Sorano Theatre offers a varied performing arts program each year. Plays by local dramatists (e.g., Sembene), concerts by local choral groups, and performances by visiting musical and dance troupes constitute typical selections. French, Italian, British, German, and U.S. Embassy cultural centers sponsor quality film shows, art exhibitions, and cultural performances. These centers also operate libraries, information resource centers, and language classes.

Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:14 AM

Since 1980, Senegal, with the help of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S., and various other donors, has engaged in an economic restructuring program. The goal of the program is for Senegal to generate and maintain a positive per capita economic growth rate while attempting to relieve poverty.

One objective of this structural adjustment program has been to increase private sector activity. To achieve this objective, the Government of Senegal has substantially reduced its role in the economy and created an environment intended to provide impetus for private enterprises. The Senegalese Government has sold or liquidated some of the many state-owned businesses in an attempt to reduce and redefine the size and role of the remaining parastatals; returned economic incentives to the rural sector by eliminating fixed prices for major food crops; given farmers a freer hand in production and marketing, and demanded improved industrial efficiency by lowering tariffs and trade barriers and exposing local business to healthy competition. This economic program is revolutionary in a country that has for decades shared many of the statist approaches of its former colonial power, France.

In January 1994, Senegal and the 13 other members of the CFA franc zone devalued their common currency by 50%. The CFA franc's value is currently fixed relative to the Euro. During restructuring, new opportunities have been created but some economic power centers have had to face competition for the first time. Urban real incomes are down as the government cuts spending and subsidies. Urban unemployment is up as government employment is reduced and inefficient businesses are closed.

Senegal's major foreign exchange earners are fish, phosphates, peanut oil, and tourism. A precarious agricultural resource endowment and a relatively limited manufacturing base make trading and commerce a way of life in Senegal. Senegal is a nation of traders, and France is its leading trading partner. A common language, a currency tied to the EURO, a substantial French commercial presence, and large flows of French financial aid have reinforced the bond. Senegal's trade with the U.S. is limited, but fluctuating exchanges and a developing Senegalese economy could lead to an increase in trade. Senegal imports food, capital equipment, and second-hand clothing from the U.S., and exports to the U.S. of live birds (African Gray Parrot) seafood, and artisan products.

Senegal is a member of the West African Economic and Monetary Union, which, along with its Central African counterpart and the Comoros Islands, forms the CFA franc zone. Other regional groups in which Senegal participates include the three-country Senegal River Basin Development Organization, the four-country Gambia River Basin Development, and the 16-country Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).

Senegal participates actively and effectively in international affairs as a member of the United Nations Committee on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), in negotiations of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), and as a member of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

Sonatel, Senegal's Telephone Company, is extending and improving telephone services throughout the country, adding cellular and high speed internet service, as well as beginning to exploit more fully its national fiber optics infrastructure. Water and waste disposal systems have improved in Dakar but leave much room for even greater improvement. Many residential and commercial areas now receive daily trash pickup.

Following is a brief listing of the major commercial and economic centers outside of Dakar:

Kaolack, 119 miles south of Dakar, the economic capital of the Sine-Saloum River Basin, is the commercial and shipping center of the richest peanut area in Senegal. It has developed since the 1920s into a city second only to Dakar in size. A plant that makes salt from evaporated seawater and a peanut oil refinery are nearby.

Rufisque, only 17 miles south of Dakar, is a city of about 100,000, and antedates Dakar by several centuries. It was once the main center and shipping point for the Cap Vert area, regaining considerable importance as an industrial and residential suburb after World War II. Accessible by rail and highway, the city has textile factories, a pharmaceutical plant, and other enterprises. Nearby, in Bargny, a large Portland cement plant is operational. Rufisque is now administratively a part of the Dakar metropolitan area.

Thies, 43 miles east of Dakar, is a commercial, communications, and industrial center with 175,465 residents. This regional capital is an important market for peanuts, Senegal's principal agricultural export. Senegal's mining production is currently dominated by phosphate mining. The majority of calcium phosphate production is location in the Thies region. Phosphate mining represents Senegal's second most important foreign earnings and employs more than 2,000 people. The railroad from Dakar first travels to Thies and continues east to the Mali border.

In September 2003, President Wade and his African counterparts inaugurated Senbus, the first bus assembly plant in West Africa. Tata, an Indian group was selected as their technical partner. Bus kits are imported from India and assembled in the Senbus factory located in Thies. The initial investment amounted to CFA 5 billion and the production capacity is 10,000 buses per year. Senbus plans to export in the sub-region. It is hoped that in the near future, the busses built by Senebus will replace the decrepit fleet of car rapide and diaga diayes.

If Senegal ever succeeds in exporting textile products in the States under AGOA, Indosen will be a major player in this AGOA venture. Indosen is a vertically integrated textile complex made up of separate units located in three different towns in Senegal -- Kahone, Louga and Thies. The Kahone unit does spinning (3,000 tons per year), weaving (160 machines produce the drill), knitting and printing. The production is then trucked to the garment-making factory located 200 kilometers away in Louga. Louga will employ 3,000 workers in 2004, producing 22 tons of T-shirts, polos and work clothes per day. The two remaining units in Thies, FTT (Filatures Textiles de Thiès) and NSTS (Nouvelle Société Textile de Thiés), are yet to be re-opened. Both are equipped with open-end spinning machines, and NSTS has additional weaving capacity.

Saint-Louis, 163 miles north of Dakar, at the mouth of the Senegal River, has a population of 115,372 people. First settled by the French in 1659, the city was the colonial capital of all of Francophone West Africa. For many years it was the maritime outlet for water borne commerce of the Senegal River Basin. In 1885, when the Saint-Louis/Dakar Railroad was completed, the city declined as a seaport and commercial center. Today, it remains important as the capital of the Fleuve Region.

Ziguinchor, 281 miles south of Dakar, is the economic capital of the Casamance Region with a seaport and commercial center for a well-populated area of farms, timberlands, and fisheries. It has 124,293 people compared to some 6,000 in 1937. Located on the south bank of the Casamance River, 40 miles above its mouth, the city is 161 miles by road from Kaolack. A fairly good road runs 14 miles south to San Domingos, Guinea-Bissau. Ziguinchor has a small number of industries, including several sawmills, an ice factory, and a peanut-processing plant. The airport has flights to Dakar, Bissau, and Cap Skirring, an important seaside resort that boasts a Club Med and a Savana Hotel as well as locally run hotels and pensions.


Automobiles Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:52 AM

The Embassy is located in the city center of Dakar. Its sprawling neighborhoods and the international airport stretch the city for approximately 15 miles along the Cap Vert peninsula. Shopping areas, restaurants and nightclubs are scattered throughout these areas. Therefore, owning your own vehicle could be considered a necessity. A variety of excellent resorts around the perimeter of the city are accessible by car, although road quality is not always good.

Traffic to and from work can be one of the most frustrating experiences of living in Dakar. In addition to the large number of vehicles on the road, dealing with aggressive and not always well-trained drivers can test the patience of the calmest person.

Travel times vary depending on the distance you live from the Embassy and the time of day you are on the road. Peak hours are between 7:00-9:00 a.m., 12:00-1:30 p.m. and 4:30-7:00 p.m. coinciding with the rush hour. The travel time can vary from 20 minutes to an hour depending on the traffic for that particular day. The school year also greatly affects the volume of traffic on the road. Once you are assigned to Dakar, a housing survey will be sent and will include more detailed information about the different neighborhoods and the pros and cons for living in each neighborhood.

Patience and perspective are the best ways to deal with the frustration of Dakar's increasingly traffic gridlock. Sitting in an afternoon traffic jam can exacerbate a difficult day at work; however, watching an African sunset setting into the Atlantic Ocean can offer some relief as you inch closer to home.

Driving is on the right side of the road and international road symbols are used. Priority to the right is the governing rule and most intersections are not controlled by traffic lights or police.

Vehicles may be shipped from the U.S., from other posts or purchased locally duty free. A wide variety of vehicles can be purchased locally at prices that are competitive with U.S. vehicles. One car per family can be imported duty free. For the two-car family, local plates can be obtained for the second car after the payment of applicable customs fees and taxes.

Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are popular, given the generally poor condition of roads in Senegal, particularly during the rainy season. Parts and service can be difficult to obtain for American-made vehicles, and repair service capabilities for some electronic ignition equipped vehicles may be limited. Parts are not always available for foreign-made cars such as Honda, Toyota, and Mazda sold with U.S. specifications.

It is recommended that frequently used parts such as spark plugs, points, rotors, condensers, or electronic-ignition control units, fan belts, wiper blades, oil and air filters, and a service manual be included in an HHE shipment. Tires are very expensive locally. Vehicles should be shipped with the catalytic converter removed since unleaded fuel is not available.

Diesel engines are preferred by some over gasoline-operated vehicles because of the lower cost of diesel fuel. Gasoline and diesel fuel are widely available throughout the country. Prices are high: approximately $3.40 per gallon for super, and $2.80 per gallon for diesel fuel (prices quoted are based on the January 2004 exchange rate). Diplomatic personnel may purchase duty free fuel coupons (maximum 300 liters per month) from the Embassy cashier, providing a savings of approximately 17% for fuel prices at Shell, Mobil, Elton, and Total gas stations.

Cars must be registered with the Senegalese Government, and license plates cost about $25. A local drivers license is not required when you have a valid U.S. drivers' license. Automobile liability insurance is required in Senegal, and is available for purchase through the Embassy motor pool. Theft, fire, and collision insurance policies are also available from several companies but are very expensive locally. Many employees obtain comprehensive coverage from U.S. companies that offer such services.

Several car rental agencies operate in Dakar. Prices range from approximately $15 to $55 per day plus 60¢ a kilometer depending on the model. Rental fees include an 18% tax and compulsory insurance, however, this tax may be waived for Americans with duty free status. Tax exemption can be obtained from the Embassy shipping section. A copy of a Diplomatic passport or Diplomatic ID issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is required in lieu of deposit.

Regulation regarding age of vehicle: A new Senegalese regulation states that cars cannot be imported into the country if they are over five years old. However, diplomats are exempt from this regulation with the caveat that the diplomat must also ship the car out of country at the end of their tour.

Should your car be less than five years old at the time of your departure, you are free to sell your car in Senegal . Vehicles sold to non-diplomatic personnel must have permission from the Foreign Ministry and custom duties must be paid on the vehicle. Although it is the responsibility of the buyer to pay the customs duties, the seller (employee) is responsible for ensuring that payment has been made. The following equation is used to determine the amount of custom duties to be paid.


Value of car 5,000,000 CFA subtract 20% of value 1,000,000 CFA subtotal 4,000,000 CFA

plus freight costs 500,000 CFA (most cars, and SUVs fall under this freight cost) subtotal 4,500,000 CFA

multiply by that subtotal by 57.98% = 2,609,100 CFA total customs duties due by non-diplomatic buyer.

* The value of the car is based on either U.S. Kelly Blue Book or French Argus Book prices.

**The seller (employee) must also provide proof to the Embassy (Motorpool Supervisor) that the seller has indeed paid these customs dues before turning over the vehicle to the buyer.

Tinted windows: Vehicles with original tinted windows are allowed, but POVs with tinted film applied to the windows are not accepted, unless the film is removed. Police agents may stop your POV on the road, and if it falls in the category of applied films, the vehicle may be taken to the police headquarters.

Local Transportation Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:18 AM

Although Dakar has an extensive public transportation system, buses are often overcrowded and off schedule. Small passenger vans known as "car rapides" are prevalent, but are not recommended for Americans, as most are in very poor mechanical condition.

Taxis are also readily available with reasonable fares. Note that fares are not set and metered taxis are rarely available. Passengers must negotiate fares before taking a taxi.

Regional Transportation Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:27 AM

Dakar is a major airline hub in West Africa. The domestic airline, Air Senegal International provides service from Dakar to other cities in Senegal, in addition to a growing international network serving other areas in Africa in addition to flights to France.

Several other regional airlines serve Dakar, including Ivorian Airlines, Royal Air Maroc, TunisAir, Air Mauritanie, Air Cap-Vert, Gambia International, Air Algerie, Air Gabon, Cameroon Airlines, Air Guinea Paramount, and Air Burkina.

International carriers with flights to Dakar from Europe include Air France, SN Airlines, Alitalia, TAP, and Iberia Airlines. South African Airways offers daily direct flights from Dakar to New York City.

Make reservations as far in advance as possible for travel to Dakar or cities requiring onward air travel from Dakar.

There is a train service that runs from Dakar to Bamako, Mali. Passenger service is highly erratic, accommodations on the train are very simple and delays often occur.


Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:21 AM

There is direct-dial telephone and fax service between Dakar and the U.S, and international calling card access (e.g. AT&T) is also available. Prices for local calls vary throughout the day. International calls dialed direct also vary depending on the time of day, but are fairly reasonable.

Many official American employees are issued cell phones upon arrival at Post. If you are not assigned a cell phone, they are readily available on the local economy and are reasonably priced.

Wireless Service Last Updated: 1/16/2004 5:50 AM

Many official American employees are issued cell phones upon arrival at Post. If you are not assigned a cell phone, they are readily available on the local economy and are reasonably priced.

Internet Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:21 AM

Most commonly used for Internet service is Sentoo. They offer two types of service - both conventional modem dial-up and DSL. No broadband service is currently available.

The conventional modem dial-up is cheaper, but the service is slower than the ADSL service. The set-up cost for the modem dial-up runs between $40-$50. Monthly charges are paid to both Sentoo and the local telephone company. The Sentoo cost is approximately $20 per month, and the telephone company charges for each dial-up connection (which would be equivalent to a local telephone call for the period of time you are connected).

Two speeds are available with the ADSL setup - 256kbs and 512kbs. The set-up costs for the ADSL connection costs approximately $175.00, which is payable in two rounds, the continuing monthly range running from $50-$60. The advantage to this service is that you can stay online indefinitely while not running up additional telephone charges.

Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:27 AM

Dakar is not an APO post, however, Dakar is served by diplomatic pouch as a Category B post. Pouches containing both mail and packages are received approximately three times per week, with an average transit time for letter mail from the United States varying from 10 days to 3 weeks.

Authorized package mail from Dakar to the United States is limited IAW Category B regulations and restrictions. Videotape exchanges and returned U.S. purchased merchandise are allowed. Consult current regulations for the listing of prohibited items for transmission via pouch.

International parcel post packages are subject to pilferage and are sometimes taxed by the Senegalese Government. UPS, DHL, and Universal Express Courier Service are available in Dakar, however, the cost of these services are more expensive compared to stateside costs.

Address for letter and package mail via State Department pouch:

PERSONAL: Full Name 2130 Dakar Place Dulles, VA 20189-2130

OFFICIAL: Full Name Agency 2130 Dakar Place Washington, DC 20521-2130

International and express (i.e. DHL, FedEX, etc.) mail should be addressed: Full Name American Embassy B.P. 49 Dakar, Senegal

It is important for personnel to bring a supply of United States postage stamps, as they cannot be purchased at the Embassy mailroom. Note: U.S. postage stamps can also be purchased on-line at

Radio and TV Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:24 AM

It is a good idea to include a radio in your airfreight, which will offer access to British Broadcasting Company (BBC) programs. Currently, Voice of America (VOA) broadcasts are no longer available, however, VOA is trying to re-establish itself as soon as possible. The international network, Radio Senegal, broadcasts mainly in French, and the national network transmits more than 40 hours weekly in five national languages. Local Senegalese stations broadcast on the FM band. Excellent music is often played on French broadcasts with some furnished by the Office of Public Diplomacy.

Only multi-system TVs (SECAM) can be used for reception of local and DSTV channels. Before buying a television system, it is important that you check to ensure it will operate in Senegal. TV sets can be purchased locally for approximately $400 to $800.

A total of 14 stations can be received by using a television antennae only; a state-owned TV station broadcasts daily in both French and Wolof. An English program entitled, English Language Magazine, is aired on Sunday evenings. The 13 other stations offer programs in French, Wolof and Arabic.

Also available is the DSTV system - a satellite based television system from South Africa. This service offers both English and French television channels and 30+ radio channels. The set-up cost for the DSTV system includes purchase of a satellite dish and ranges from approximately $800-$1000. One decoder is included in this set-up cost; an additional decoder can be purchased, however, the cost of this additional decoder can be prohibitive. The monthly DSTV charge averages about $50.00.

DVD and VHS popularity is widespread in Dakar. Active tape clubs exist on the local market for those who have multi-systems units. Also, the Embassy Community Welfare and Recreational Association (ECWRA) manages a Video/DVD Club with nominal membership and rental fees. Many employees also have a large private selection of DVDs and lending libraries are commonplace.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:28 AM

Some English-language newspapers, including the International Herald Tribune, are available a day late at 1,500CFA a copy from the local newsstands. International editions of Newsweek, Time, and People are sold weekly for about $3 to $4.50. Regular delivery of papers and magazines must be arranged with local vendors or via subscriptions from Europe. Readily available are French newspapers including Le Monde and other popular periodicals. Dakar has five daily newspapers, published in French, and several weekly papers. When subscribing to periodicals from the U.S., consider the 2 - 3 week transit time to Dakar.

There are a few good bookstores, which stock mostly French books; however, they are expensive. There is a new English bookstore in the Almadies neighborhood; but again, prices are expensive. The Community Liaison Office (CLO) operates a small, self-service library that relies on community donations. Books can be easily purchased online and shipped through the pouch.

Following is a comprehensive list of English or English/French websites that offer a wealth of information:

Major Senegal Press Sites - French

Health and Medicine Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:28 AM

Medical Facilities Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:27 AM

A Regional Medical Officer (RMO) is stationed in Dakar and is responsible for the post's medical program. Located on the Embassy compound, the Medical Unit is staffed by one physician with regional responsibilities, two part-time nurses, a medical technologist with regional responsibilities, and a full-time receptionist. During the regional medical officer's absence, post personnel may be referred to a local physician. The Medical Unit maintains a referral list of local physicians and medical facilities. Senegalese physician and clinic referral list--note: many of our consultants are not Senegalese and many of the facilities for physical therapy, diagnostic studies, etc. are not clinics.

A detailed briefing is given to newly arrived personnel and family members by the medical staff. In addition, the medical staff also provides periodic training sessions for domestic servants.

The Medical Unit is open during regular Embassy hours; however, members of the medical staff (and the post medical advisor) are on-call in case of an emergency. The Peace Corps medical officer is also available for emergency care.

The authorized med-evac location is London.

Although basic obstetric facilities are available locally, the Department of State recommends all deliveries be performed in the United States.

There are several local dentists who can be recommended by the medical unit. They do satisfactory work, and their services are reasonably priced.

Personnel are encouraged to read the Post Medical Report for more detailed information on common medical problems and prevention.

Medicines shipped from the U.S. via pouch should be clearly marked "MEDICAL SUPPLIES." Addresses for D.C.-based pharmacies are available at post.

Community Health Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:27 AM

Maintaining good health in Dakar means taking appropriate preventive measures. Throughout Senegal, amoebic dysentery, giardiasis, hepatitis, typhoid fever, and many other parasitic infestations may be acquired from food or water. Therefore, all water for drinking, cooking or making ice cubes should be boiled or filtered. Most residences are equipped with water distillers (depending on the policy of a particular agency; all Department of State personnel are provided distillers).

Meats should be cooked until well-done and raw seafood should be avoided. Wash all raw, unpeeled fruit and vegetables in a diluted bleach solution before consuming. Proper food handling is an essential measure of preventive medicine.

Malaria is endemic in Senegal, and all Americans should take malaria suppressants. Hepatitis is also prevalent, and Americans should receive the appropriate immunizations. Tuberculosis, leprosy, meningitis, polio, influenza, rabies and measles are also found in Senegal. All Americans must possess a current medical clearance and a valid yellow fever immunization, and should have completed all required and recommended immunizations. Chicken Pox vaccine for children is not available in Senegal. Rodent and insect control is satisfactory. Available from the Medical Unit is a comprehensive publication for post-specific health measures.

Preventive Measures Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:28 AM

The likelihood of contracting tropical diseases or infections is minimal if normal precautions are taken. Persons in good physical condition rarely suffer serious problems in Dakar. The danger of infection is minimal if small cuts and wounds are treated properly. Because of the possibility of schistosomiasis, avoid swimming in freshwater areas. Swimming is safe at designated beaches and swimming pools.

For protection from HIV-AIDS avoid contaminated blood products, unsterilized needles, and take recommended precautions for avoiding sexually transmitted diseases.

Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:29 AM

Dakar typically hosts between 50-60 spouses of direct-hire American employees at post, and the Eligible Family Members (EFM) positions fluctuate between 12-14 positions depending on the needs of the Mission. These positions range from clerical to specialized positions. Many EFM jobs at the Embassy require a Security Clearance (see State 295536 concerning Interim Security Clearances) and some knowledge of French. Several short-term employment opportunities such as producing the Retail Price Survey, editing the Post and Differential Reports, Peak Season Consular positions, and other special projects, may also be available throughout the year.

EFMs or MOHs (members of household) of all U.S. Government agencies receive equal consideration for available positions. The Mission has an active and uniform employment policy that includes a Post Employment Committee (PEC). EFMs and MOHs of U.S. Government direct-hire employees receive priority consideration for staffing certain available positions.

An accurate description of available jobs is summarized in the Family Member Employment Report (FAMER), which is updated by the Family Liaison Office in Washington (M/FLO) and is available in most CLO or Human Resources Offices at posts or online at:

Position vacancies are widely advertised throughout the Mission in Administrative notices and the post newsletter, La Palabre

A variety of other challenging opportunities exist in Dakar. The International School of Dakar, Dakar Academy and several local pre-school programs offer teaching or aid positions. Additionally, the ECWRA manager is hired locally on a contractual basis.

Prior to arrival, interested applicants are encouraged to contact the Human Resource Office and Community Liaison Office and also submit a current resume. The CLO staff has prepared a publication entitled Employment Opportunities for Dependents of Direct-Hire U.S. Government Employees in Dakar, which is available upon request or may be reviewed when visiting M/FLO or the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC).

A bilateral work agreement between the U.S. and Senegal currently exists which offer additional working opportunities for EFMs. It is important to point out that fluent French is required and in most cases local pay scales are low. For medically trained personnel; there are specific French qualifications, which may prevent American medically trained personnel from seeking employment outside the Mission community.

The Human Resources Office maintains a skill bank of qualified dependents. Dependents are also encouraged to register their applications with M/FLO's skills bank system.

American Embassy - Dakar

Post City Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:31 AM

Dakar, Senegal's capital and metropolitan center, is one of the largest seaports and industrial centers of West Africa. First occupied by the French as a military post in 1857, Dakar soon developed as a seaport and administrative center to replace Saint-Louis as Senegal's principal city. When the Federation of French West Africa was formed, Dakar became the seat of federal government. Following independence from France in 1960, the city remained the cultural center of French West Africa.|

Dakar occupies the southern end of the Cap Vert Peninsula, the westernmost point of the African continent. On a plateau about 100 feet above sea level are tall, modern buildings, handsome residences, and tree-lined avenues of the business and administrative district. Leopold S. Senghor International Airport, located in Yoff, is about 10 miles from Les Almadies, the westernmost point on the peninsula.

Although some communities are randomly developed, others are carefully planned residential areas with modern homes, surrounded by trees and gardens. Most of the expatriate and American families live in the following neighborhoods: Plateau (downtown area), Point E, Fann, Fenetre Mermoz, Almadies and Ngor. Each neighborhood offers its own advantages and disadvantages. Once you are assigned to Post, the housing office will distribute a housing survey to help you identify where you would prefer to live. Once you receive this survey, you can discuss these pros and cons directly with either the housing office or the CLO.

Living in a developing African city offers its own set of challenges. Utility service is sometimes sporadic, particularly electrical outages and water shortages. The Mission continues to strive to improve the quality of life for all employees, therefore, all Mission houses, and most apartments, are equipped with emergency generators and water tanks. No sewers exist outside the downtown area, but Mission residences have individual septic tanks.

Security Last Updated: 1/16/2004 5:56 AM

On the crime front, Dakar is subject to the usual problems associated with big cities. Violent crime is relatively low. There is, however, a prevalence of petty crimes, e.g., pickpockets. Thieves are aggressive and very good. Bags, briefcases or satchels, left unattended, even momentarily, may be stolen; articles left in plain sight in vehicles are also at risk. Carry as little cash as possible, and not all in one place. Do not show money openly on the street and do not wear expensive jewelry. Carry only photocopies of your identification documents, i.e., passport and drivers license. Beware of your surroundings at all times and do not venture into unknown areas.

The Regional Security Office provides in-depth personal, residential, and emergency security briefings. Pamphlets are available explaining detailed security information to family members. Prudent security practices should ensure a pleasant and safe tour in Dakar.

Please direct questions regarding specific topics as follows: religious activities, schooling, family activities, and job opportunities to the CLO; housing to the GSO; medical to the RMO; security to the RSO; and any other questions to the Human Resources Officer or Management Officer.

The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:32 AM

The Embassy is located at the corner of Avenue Jean XXIII and Rue Kleber. The Chancery is an OBO building completed in 1977. The three-story building houses Embassy offices and the Defense Attaché (USDAO). Also located on the Chancery compound is the Medical Unit. Adjacent leased buildings house General Services (GSO), Human Resources, Community Liaison Office (CLO), the Commercial Library, the Office of Defense Cooperation (ODC), Public Affairs Office (PAO), and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Office.

USAID moved in 2002 from its previous location in a downtown office building to the Ngor suburb of Dakar. Peace Corps offices are located at Allées Papa Gueye Fall.

Currently 102 U.S. Government employees work in Senegal, excluding American contract employees. Some 140 Peace Corp volunteers are assigned to Senegal, working in agriculture, forestry, health, and small enterprise development. The Peace Corps training center is located in Thies.

The U.S. Mission in Dakar has a regional support role with five regional State Department officers (medical, security, human resources, information management, and financial management), as well as USAID/RIG, FAA, and USDAO. The Embassy Administrative Section also provides ad hoc procurement, transportation, shipping, and pouch support activities for other West African posts.

Addresses, telephone and fax numbers of U.S. Government offices in Dakar are: Embassy - Avenue Jean XXIII angle Rue Kleber. Tel: 823-42-96/823-36-81/823-34 24/823-79-01 - after hours: 823-65-20 - FAX 822-29-91

USAID - Petit Ngor derrière Hotel Ngor Diarama. Tel: 869-61-00/869-61-20/FAX 869-61-01 or from the Embassy dial 7380.

RIG - Petit Ngor derrière Hotel Ngor Diarama. Tel: 869-61-27/869-61-28/869-61-29/FAX 869-61-30 or from the Embassy dial 7380

Defense Attaché Office - American Embassy, Avenue Jean XXIII angle Rue Kleber, Tel 823-65-27 FAX 822-29-91

FAO - Located in DAO.

Peace Corps - Allées Papa Gueye Fall, Tel 823-71-78/823-71-79/823-70-14 FAX 823-91-02.

FAA - 45, Rue Kleber, Tel 823-67-53 FAX 823-92-86

ODC - 45, Rue Kleber, Embassy lines or office direct line Tel 823-31-51 FAX 821-18-81

Embassy office hours are Monday through Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm. Marine Security Guards provide 24-hour coverage. An Embassy duty officer, Information Programs Officer, OMS, medical and maintenance personnel are on call for all after-hour emergencies. The Embassy is closed on weekends and all official American and Senegalese holidays. Since many of the Senegalese holidays are lunar, newly assigned personnel should check the current holiday listing during pre-departure consultations and immediately inform post of their travel plans.

The Embassy Administrative Section handles most service functions for other U.S. Government agency personnel in Dakar through the ICASS System. The management officer will send a cable giving more specific data, if requested and a detailed welcome cable upon notification of posting.

All employees assigned to Dakar should advise their parent agency of their arrival date and the number of passenger accompanying the employee. Arriving personnel will be met and assisted by a designated employee.


Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:33 AM

The post makes every effort to move new arrivals directly into permanent quarters. If permanent housing is not immediately available, incoming personnel will be advised prior to arrival at post, and will be provided appropriate temporary housing.

Permanent Housing Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:28 AM

In accordance with U.S. Government regulations, all agencies are represented on the Mission Interagency Housing Board. All employees permanently assigned to the Mission are provided housing for the duration of their tour. Assigned housing includes all essential furniture, furnishings, major appliances and equipment, and associated maintenance services.

Personnel occupy U.S. Government-leased or owned houses or apartments. Very few houses are located downtown. Commuting time from most outlying residential areas to the chancery can vary from 20 - 40+ minutes, depending on traffic.

Leased apartments are roomy by Washington standards, with high ceilings, individual air-conditioning units, and/or ceiling fans in the living areas. Many apartments have balconies and some have off-street parking. Some houses have enclosed lawns and play areas but many residences have very little lawn area. All houses and apartment buildings are protected by Mission-provided night guard service.

The Ambassador's residence is a modern U.S. Government-leased structure in the Fann district. The Deputy Chief of Mission's house is located in the Les Almadies suburb.

A complete description of these residences and an inventory of furnishings are available in M/OBO/IF.

Furnishings Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:35 AM

Living quarters are furnished with basic appliances: refrigerator, freezer, stove, automatic washer and dryer, vacuum cleaner, three transformers, and furniture for the living and dining areas and bedrooms. Carpets and curtains are provided for the major rooms. Bring table linens, pillows, iron and ironing board, kitchen essentials, small appliances, china, and glassware. Area rugs, knickknacks, pictures, etc., personalize a home. Since households have at lease one queen-size bed plus twin beds, employees should bring appropriate bed linens.

The Embassy provides an adequate Welcome Kit of towels, linens, pots and pans, ironing board, iron, etc. that may be retained for 10 days after delivery of airfreight.

Include in airfreight, linens, silverware, dishes, cooking utensils, and entertainment or sport items.

Advise your shipping contractor to forward all airway bills and bills of lading to the embassy's General Services Office (GSO). The Community Liaison Office (CLO) provides a comprehensive Welcome Package including various publications that note specific items that should be included in airfreight and surface freight, as well as the multitude of food, sport, and household items available in Dakar. If you still have questions after reviewing the material, please contact CLO or your parent agency.

Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:35 AM

Mission houses are equipped with emergency generators although the city's power supply is generally reliable. In most buildings circuits are usually 220v/230v.

Appliances or equipment sensitive to voltage fluctuation, such as some computers, electronic amplifiers etc., require voltage stabilizers, Un-interrupted Power Supply (UPS) units, and/or surge protectors are highly recommended to protect against power surges. Extra step-down transformers are very useful and should be shipped in your HHE.

Bring appliances with universal motors (50-60 cycles) and with 110v/220v selector switches.

Food Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:36 AM

A wide variety of food is available locally, but prices are frequently more expensive than in the U.S. South African/US imports are increasingly becoming available. Bottled water is available locally.

Locally produced and French-imported products are well stocked in the markets or supermarkets. Beef, lamb, pork, and veal are considerably leaner than U.S. cuts. Seasonal seafood is excellent, plentiful and inexpensive. Garden vegetables are abundant in winter but scarcer during the hot, humid, rainy summer weather. Fresh fruits are available all year.

Many Mission employees utilize a number of internet retailers to purchase U.S. food and household items not readily available in Senegal. Keep in mind that liquids and other prohibited items are not authorized for shipment through the diplomatic pouch.

Clothing Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:37 AM

Bring a well-stocked wardrobe, which can later be supplemented with items ordered from U.S. outlets, shipped via pouch. Catalogs are available in the CLO office. Bring washable clothes since local dry cleaning is expensive and does not match U.S. standards. Imported, expensive but fashionable, Western-style, ready-to-wear clothing and shoes are available in limited supplies.

Dress in Dakar is informal, but not casual except at home or at the beach. Senegalese men and women are fashion conscious and dress well. Bring sport clothing, footwear and beach accessories to post. An umbrella is very useful during the rainy season. Business attire is usually worn and is the standard in the Front Office. The Marine Ball is the one formal function attended by most Mission personnel.

Men Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:37 AM

For the hot, humid summer (July to October) lightweight suits and slacks are worn with short-sleeved shirts; ties are optional for most jobs in the Mission. Some occasions require a suit or sports coat during summer evenings. For winter, heavyweight summer suits or lightweight tropical worsted suits, long-sleeved shirts, and a few sweaters are useful.

Women Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:38 AM

During the summer season, women dress as they would in Washington D.C., in July and August. Washable lightweight cotton and linen fabrics are best. Cool, sleeveless dresses are worn during the day, both in the office and in public. Tailored slacks are also worn. Shorts are not appropriate in public unless for athletic activities. Most entertainment is informal or casual. Formal occasions are rare. Senior officers and/or spouses should bring several cocktail dresses and at least one long, formal gown. For summer cocktail and dinner affairs, knee-length dresses are preferred with sandals, open shoes, or low-heeled pumps. Dress shoes with heels that will not sink into the lawn at outdoor parties are recommended.

Dakar's winter season compares with late spring and early fall in Washington D.C. with warm days with cool evenings. Because houses and offices are not heated, lightweight warm clothing is recommended for indoors. Dark cottons, knits, and light woolens are useful. Dinner and cocktail dresses with sleeves or matching jackets are popular. Shawls are often worn since entertaining continues outdoors, even in winter.

Since the cool season is short, a large amount of heavy clothing is unnecessary. Light sweaters or jackets are recommended for the few cool and windy months. However, bring some winter clothes for winter vacations, training or transfers to colder climates.

Many people purchase material and hire local tailors to make clothing. The quality of work varies, but is generally inexpensive.

Children Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:38 AM

During the winter months in school, most boys wear long or short washable pants or blue jeans with long-sleeved shirts or sweatshirts, whereas in the summer months shorts and T-shirts are preferred. Throughout the school year, girls wear shorts, dresses, skirts and blouses, or jeans. Bring an initial supply of tennis shoes. Local purchases are expensive and do not wear well. Several sweaters, corduroy jackets, or windbreakers are good for winter.

For infants and toddlers, bring a selection of warmer clothing since most houses have cold, ceramic tile floors, and no heating. During summer, children may change underwear and play clothes often; bring an adequate supply as frequent washing can cause wear and tear. Cottons are cooler and more comfortable than polyester. Locally purchased disposable diapers are available but expensive. These items should either be brought in the initial household shipment or special ordered.

Supplies and Services

Supplies Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:39 AM

Local purchases may be more expensive than similar items available in the U.S. Useful household items include: nonmetal hangers, mildew preventives, plastic garment bags, an ironing board, a kitchen stepstool, flashlights, and plug adapters for appliances. Lightweight cotton or wool blankets or lightweight comforters are used during winter. Ample beach equipment and sunscreens should be brought in your HHE for beach outings. French personal products are available. If you prefer American brands, bring them.

The Embassy's Medical Unit provides some medicines for emergencies, malaria prevention, and dysentery. Mosquito repellant is available locally, but can be expensive. Plan to bring plenty in your household effects. Arrangements for personal prescription items should be established before arrival. Consider bringing two pairs of prescription glasses to post, and leaving your prescription with a U.S. optician. Prescriptions are filled here, but are expensive. Sunglasses are recommended. Contact lens wearers should bring ample cleaning and disinfecting supplies. Backup glasses should be shipped since dust may cause some contact wearers difficulty.

Bring art, craft, hobby, and sewing supplies with you. If bringing a 50-cycle sewing machine, Singer and Necchi repair services are available. Notions and dressmaker's patterns (in French) are available locally but are expensive. Wide selections of imported and African material for clothing, draperies, and upholstery are available. Locally produced cottons include tie-dyes, African prints, and intricately woven "jacquards."

Photographic film, processing and camera equipment is available. Exposed film can be sent via pouch, and mailers are available at post.

Music buffs and bibliophiles should bring an ample selection or join record and book clubs.

Other useful miscellaneous items include garden tools, sports equipment, barbecue grill, a fully equipped toolbox, card tables, extra shower curtains, Christmas decorations, and an artificial Christmas tree. Imported trees are expensive and are not always fresh. Consider bringing a good supply of toys for birthday parties and gifts since varieties are limited and expensive locally.

Basic Services Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:40 AM

Dakar has laundries, drycleaners, and shoe repair shops. Service quality varies. Numerous French-operated barbershops and hairdressers offer good quality service at moderate to expensive prices. A few shops can repair and supply parts for radios, watches, irons, stereos, and other household appliances. Experienced tailors are available to help you expand your wardrobe quickly.

Domestic Help Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:40 AM

The Senegalese Ministry of Labor regulates domestic wages, vacation time, work hours, and dismissal conditions. A copy of the guidelines for domestic employment, available from CLO and included in the Human Resources welcome package, presents thorough and detailed explanations of the Senegalese labor laws. CLO and Human Resources Office provide additional guidance, as required.

Men usually fill cook, day guard or gardener positions. Women customarily care for children, do laundry, cook and basic household cleaning. Depending on qualifications and duties, salaries range from $50 to $200 a month. Senegalese law requires that employers provide a transportation allowance, which costs approximately $20 a month for full-time employees. Employers must enroll full-time employees in the local social security and retirement systems. Few servants live in and meals are only provided for full-time staff. Uniforms are supplied by the employer. Most domestics speak French. Domestics should have medical exams before being hired.

Religious Activities Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:41 AM

The Senegalese population is predominantly Muslim, with the remaining population worshiping in Catholic and Protestant churches and missions. Catholic churches offer Mass, in French and English, regularly during the week and on Sundays. A few priests and nuns speak English.

Other Sunday services in French include one by French Protestants and one by United World Mission. The Southern Baptist Convention and the United Methodist Church hold an English-language interdenominational service and Sunday school service. Dakar does not have a synagogue; however, the small French-speaking Jewish community attends services in each other's homes.


Dependent Education

At Post Last Updated: 2/3/2004 10:35 AM All schools, public and private are open to Senegalese and foreign children. The public elementary school system is overcrowded and not recommended. Catholic and Protestant churches operate several private French schools.

The International School of Dakar (ISD), which opened in 1983, is the only non-sectarian English language school in Dakar. ISD is an independent coeducational day school offering an enriched American educational program to reflect the diverse international background of the student body and the faculty. Classes for the school year 2003-2004 are offered in grades preschool through 12. The school year extends from early September to mid-June.

Organization: The School is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors elected by the International School Association of Dakar, the sponsoring body of the school. Membership in the Association is automatically conferred on the parents or guardians of children enrolled in the School and to teaching faculty. Ex officio members of the Board include a representative of the U.S. Ambassador, the President of the Parent Teacher Association and a Teachers' Representative.

Curriculum and Structure: ISD follows a curriculum found in most American schools. Instruction is in English. French is offered at three levels, every day, to students from K-12. Every student also has classes in art, music, computers, and physical education. We currently offer Advanced Placement classes in History, English, French and Biology. The preschool class is for four and three-year-old children and is a half day program in a self-contained classroom. Grades K-6 have full day programs in self-contained classrooms for core subjects. The school, committed to quality education in an international environment, provides specialized training in English-as-a-Second-Language, as well as a limited Special Needs Program. ISD is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools.

Faculty: ISD employs 24 full-time and 3 part-time faculty for the 2003-2004 school year, 11 of these are Americans and 16 third-country nationals. All full-time teachers are certified in their country of origin, and several hold Master's Degrees (or equivalent). There are also six teacher aides in the elementary classes, and two part-time aides for the library.

Enrollment: Enrollment at the beginning of the 2003-2004 school year was 200. Of the total, 72 are U.S. citizens; the other students represent 35 other nationalities. Of the U.S. enrollment, 40 are dependents of U.S. Government direct-hire or contract employees.

Facilities: The new school, built in 1988, sits on four acres overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, on the outskirts of Dakar. It includes a library, science lab, two computer labs, art and music rooms, a soccer field and playground; and a multi-purpose gymnasium/auditorium. The Atlantic Club, adjoins the school and offers students access to tennis, swimming, basketball and other sports.

Finances: In the 2003-2004 school year, approximately 95 per cent of the School's income will be derived from tuition fees. Tuition rates for 2003-2004 are $12,075 for grades 9-12, $10,720 for grades 7-8, $9,980 for Grades K-6 and $2,810 for preschool. For new students, there is a $100 registration fee and a one-time-only capital building fund fee of $3,500 for those in grades K-12. A $35 fee is charged all students re-registering. (All fees are quoted and payable in U.S. dollars.)

This Fact Sheet is intended to provide general information. The Office of Overseas Schools (A/OS) may have more detailed information. Prospective users of the schools may wish to inquire further of A/OS or contact the school directly for more specific and up-to-the minute information regarding curriculum, special programs, and the like.

(Statistics as of September 15, 2003)

Please see the following link for further information:

The ISD mailing addresses are as follows:


International School of Dakar (ISD) 2130 Dakar Place Washington D.C. 20521-2130


International School of Dakar B.P. 513 Dakar, Senegal

Telephone numbers:

Tel.: (221) 823-08-71 Fax: (221) 825-50-30

Email address:

Send specific concerns to the ISD Director, at either address. CLO also keeps up-to-date school information and registration forms.

Dakar Academy was founded in 1961 and is sponsored by three missionary groups. Today, an open enrollment includes over 22 nationalities and a student body of about 210. An American curriculum is offered for kindergarten through grade 12. Bible class and weekly chapel attendance is compulsory for all grades. French, music, art, and physical education are offered at all grades. Science and computer lab classes using state-of-the-art equipment are also offered. English-as-a-Second-Language instruction is required for all students with inadequate English comprehension skills.

The school is accredited by ASCI and the Middle States Association of Schools and Colleges. The large campus located in Hann (near the zoo) includes surfaced sports/tennis/basketball, track and field, and a newly refurbished auditorium.

The faculty consists of fully certified teachers holding bachelors degrees or higher. Most have had teaching experience before coming to Dakar Academy. Children must reach the age of 6 by October 31 before entering the first grade. Sometimes exceptions are granted if the child will be 6 by December 31 and achieves a satisfactory score on a readiness test.

School begins in late August and continues until early June. Progress reports with letter grades are given four times a year. Parents seeking enrollment in the academy should write the academy principal at the following address:

Dakar Academy Route des Maristes (HANN) B.P. 3189 Dakar, Senegal

Tel. (221) 832-06-82

Or use the following link for more information.

Other options available to parents with older children include sending teenagers to boarding schools abroad or seeking enrollment in French-language high school. French schools commence in late October and continue to mid-July. Students should not enroll in a local French-language high school without thorough French fluency. Non-French-speaking students are placed in a special class or have several months of private French tutoring.

Several good private French-language and bi-lingual primary and nursery schools are located in Dakar.

Away From Post Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:46 AM Dependents in grades 9 to 12 are eligible to attend European and U.S. schools. The Department's educational allowance is designed to cover costs, including room, board, and periodic transportation between post and school.

Higher Education Opportunities Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:47 AM

The post has an active French-language training program for U.S. Government employees and adult dependents. French lessons are available privately and through the Alliance Française. Italian, Portuguese, Russian, and German lessons are also available through the respective embassies. The University of Dakar offers a French language and civilization course (20 hours a week from late October through mid-June) for serious students only. Placement tests are given the third week in October.

Recreation and Social Life

Sports Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:30 AM

A variety of clubs and private facilities for athletics include:

For flying enthusiasts, the Aero Club de Dakar offers flying lessons and rental of private planes.

The archery club uses facilities in the Cercle de l'Etrier (CED). (Bowhunting is illegal in Senegal.)

A 12-hole golf course is located near Dakar at Camberene. The Meridien President Hotel has a 9-hole course and good facilities.

Horseback riding is popular: Dakar has six riding clubs. Membership and riding fees are comparable to U.S. costs. Boarding and lessons are available.

Dakar has 11 tennis clubs. Some are equipped with showers and a bar.

Also, the Embassy's employee association (ECWRA) operates the Club Atlantique (the Club), a full-service facility with two tennis courts, one multi-purpose court, swimming pool, playground, snackbar, and clubhouse. The Club offers a variety of recreational and sports activities, including summer and sport camps for kids. Movies are occasionally shown on Friday or Saturday nights, and a full service bar is available. The Club is open to all ECWRA members and offers guest membership to the international community.

The Senegalese Tennis Federation sponsors one or two world-class exhibitions a year.

There are two squash clubs in Dakar.

An active softball league includes teams of Americans, Canadians, French, Koreans, Japanese and Senegalese. The season runs from September through February with a break over the Christmas holidays. Games are held on Saturdays at the Embassy's "Ebbetts Field."

In February each year, Dakar invites softball teams from other West African posts to come to Senegal for the annual West African Invitational Softball Tournament (W.A.I.S.T.).

The Association Dakaroise de Tir offers a range of European-style competition target shooting. The club is licensed by the Senegalese Government, and membership is limited to 50 persons for the entire country. Only serious and dedicated target shooters are welcome.

Classical ballet, gymnastics, acrobatics, yoga, karate, and judo instruction are available at various locations.

Bicycling is becoming more and more popular among the expatriate community. Sports enthusiasts should bring appropriate clothing and equipment. Several local sports shops have good selections but prices are high.

Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:31 AM

The Senegalese Government actively encourages tourism. Opportunities for interesting excursions exist in Dakar and throughout the country either by car or on an accompanied bus tour. Accommodations range from four star deluxe resort hotels to village encampments offering rustic lodging to experience village life up close.

During the year, several traditional festivals are held throughout the country. The ocean is undoubtedly Dakar's main recreational asset. Excellent swimming, boating, fishing, skin diving, and scuba diving are available. Dakar has a multitude of white sandy beaches along both sides of the peninsula. However, not all beaches close to town are safe or clean enough for swimming. Water-skiing, windsurfing and sailing equipment rentals are available at some boating clubs and hotels in Dakar.

The ocean off the coast is unpredictable with sporadic surf, undertow currents, and storms. Prudence dictates safety first for all water activities. Boaters and deep-sea enthusiasts should be well informed on local weather reports and air-sea rescue procedures. For these activities, bring safety equipment, including lifejackets.

The Cap Vert Peninsula has many beaches along its coastline. Ngor Island 3 - 4 minutes off the coast by pirogue, has an excellent beach and some cottages. Historic Goree Island, 20 minutes by ferry, has a small beach, three restaurants, and several museums. Both islands have areas suitable for scuba diving.

The Meridien, Teranga, Club Med and Savannah Hotels have swimming clubs with excellent facilities, including beach restaurants serving snacks and drinks. Several popular beaches and resort areas are within a 2-hour radius of Dakar. Some Mission personnel rent beach houses and a few have purchased cottages.

Year-round fishing is available. Although surf fishing is the most accessible, the most popular methods are trolling. Several local fishermen will rent their pirogues on a half-day basis if you supply the gas.

More enjoyable but expensive is deep-sea fishing. Club Med charters boats from June through October. Many deep-sea fishing enthusiasts believe membership at the Club de Peche Sportif de Dakar is a good investment. Affiliated with the International Game Fishing Association (IGFA), the club sponsors fishing contests and various social events.

Available equipment costs three or four times U.S. prices. Dakar has four well-supplied fishing shops. Catalog orders take at least 2 weeks to arrive from the U.S., and most fishing rods cannot be sent through the pouch mail. Skin diving and spear fishing are popular. Compressed air bottles can be charged locally. Waters around Dakar are not as clear as the Mediterranean but are much warmer. Neoprene shirts are necessary only from December to April.

Hunting is gaining popularity in Senegal. Imported guns must be registered with the Senegalese Government. The RSO can assist in obtaining any necessary permits and must be informed in advance of shipping firearms to post. Prospective hunters are advised to join the Association de Chasse et de Tir du Senegal, licensed by the Senegalese Government. The hunting season normally runs from November to May. The only big game hunting is near the national animal reserve at Niokolo-Koba, 300 miles from Dakar.

Dakar has two yacht clubs with boats ranging from 20 to 40 feet "Requins," "Dragons," or smaller "Snipes" to hybrid sail and motorboats. Secondhand boats can be bought locally; but, bring your own outboard motor since purchases are double U.S. prices. Servicing is available for U.S. Evinrude and Johnson motors.

Entertainment Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:51 AM

Dakar has a few movie theaters, although many people prefer to frequent the cinema located at the Plaz de la Independence because of its location and amenities. All films are shown in French and the theaters are air-conditioned. The American Club periodically shows American films during the weekend for members and guests. The Marine House occasionally shows American movies. The post's employee association (ECWRA) operates a Video Club that rents movies and a limited number of TVs and VCRs to members. The video club is housed in the former commissary facility adjacent to the American Club and International School of Dakar. It has about 1,500 titles representing all viewing interests. New releases are purchased for rental as soon as they are available on VHS or DVD.

The Daniel Sorano National Theatre is open between October and June and presents well-known local and international theatrical groups and singers. The Dakar International Music Society periodically produces choral and musical productions. Interested participants are always welcome. The IFAN museum at Place Soweto has an interesting collection of West African arts and crafts. The main IFAN building on the University of Dakar campus has an excellent, specialized library on African subjects. Another IFAN museum worth visiting is located on Goree Island. An interesting and active art community creates modern and abstract works. The Office of Public Affairs, the French Cultural Center, and private galleries occasionally schedule exhibitions.

Several charity balls and numerous French presentations are held during the social season. The excellent National Troupe Folklorique performs several times a year. Local hotels schedule many performances of the African Ballet Troupe, which offers traditional dance exhibitions. A few people in the European community play chamber music and are always looking for new talent. Classical guitar and kora lessons are also available.

Dakar has several impressive but expensive nightclubs, discotheques and casinos. A combination of bands and current records are used. A few jazz clubs also offer excellent entertainment. Good French, Vietnamese, Lebanese, Italian, Korean and African restaurants are open six days a week for lunch and dinner. Numerous restaurants are located in the hotels and along the beaches. Prices range from moderate to expensive.

Social Activities

Among Americans Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:51 AM The American community in Dakar includes U.S. Mission personnel, missionaries, private business people, and students. Americans gather informally for social activities, including picnics, beach parties, and sports events.

The Marine House is a favorite meeting place for families to relax. The Detachment sponsors various informal parties and social events throughout the year, including the Annual Marine Corps Ball, held at one of the major Dakar hotels.

The Club Atlantique (the Club), formerly known as The American Club, is located next to the International School of Dakar, about 5 miles from the Embassy. The Club is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm and later for special occasions. American direct-hire and U.S. contract employees may become full members; non-official American and third-country nationals may become associate members. Facilities include a 33 x 82-foot swimming pool, a small wading pool for children, two lighted tennis courts, one lighted all purpose tennis/volleyball/ basketball) court, a party room, snack bar for light meals, snacks, and drinks, changing rooms and an outside area for showing movies.

The Club is a facility of the ECWRA, whose Board of Directors is also responsible for the Embassy cafeteria and Video/DVD Club operations. The Club no longer operates a commissary; the space formerly occupied by the commissary is now leased to a private concession, which operates a small convenience store with some American and local products. Prices are comparable, and in many instances, less expensive then other grocery stores.

English-speaking women in Dakar are invited to join various English-speaking clubs offering a variety of programs, including the International Women's Group of Dakar. The Hash House Harriers (HHH) is a well-known athletic/social club, where expat and local joggers/walkers meet late every Saturday afternoon at a pre-determined location.

International Contacts Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:48 AM Opportunities for establishing international contacts in Dakar are numerous at the official and social levels. The extent of the contacts depends on one's own initiative and ability to meet others. The Senegalese are hospitable and entertain frequently. Americans often attend social functions and reciprocate the hospitality.

Senegal has more than 90 accredited diplomatic missions and 31 international organizations.

Official Functions

Nature of Functions Last Updated: 10/23/2003 1:52 PM

Official functions in Dakar are fairly frequent. Gatherings often center on dinners, luncheons, receptions and cocktail parties. A small number of Mission personnel are involved in official functions with the major responsibilities incumbent on the Ambassador, DCM, agency heads, and senior officers. Unofficial, and less formal entertaining is conducted within the American, diplomatic, and Senegalese communities.

The general rule of dress for most official functions is “tenue de ville” (business suit) or occasionally “décontractée” (casual). Casual for men means no necktie, no jeans, and generally no jacket during warm weather. “Décontractée” for both men and women is dressier than U.S. casual wear.

Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 1/15/2004 11:54 AM

Following presentation of credentials, the Ambassador calls on various members of the Senegalese Government and counterparts in other diplomatic missions accredited to Senegal.

All other Mission Officers are encouraged to call on their diplomatic, private sector, and host government counterparts. Calling cards in French are useful and can be printed at Post on one of the Embassy's color laser printers using high quality Avery card stock. Quality stationery is useful, but invitations, informals, calling cards, and place cards can be ordered here with satisfactory results. Spouses are not required to arrange social calls on other Mission or community spouses. The Senegalese are very friendly people and initial greetings are most important. One should always remember to say hello before asking either a question or for directions.

Inquiring about health and family, and extending thanks are other forms of courtesy, which are appreciated in Senegal.

Special Information Last Updated: 1/16/2004 5:56 AM

Senegal is one of the most stable countries in the region. The internal threat in Senegal is minimal. An ongoing separatist insurgency in the Casamance region of southern Senegal continues to pose a security risk. For the first time in a number of years, however, there are reasonable expectations for peace in the Casamance. The Government of Senegal and one of the three armed groups recently agreed to a timeline for pacifying the northern part of the Casamance between Gambia and the city of Ziguinchor. The government is also accelerating efforts to re-establish "normal" economic and social life to provide an alternative to the rebellion. In addition to the prolonged insurgency, armed bandits and landmines present a threat in rural areas. The Embassy recommends U.S. citizens not drive in the Casamance outside of Ziguinchor.

Notes For Travelers

Getting to the Post Last Updated: 1/16/2004 4:42 AM

Travelers to Dakar have several options from the U.S. South African Airways offers thrice-weekly nonstop service flights from New York City to Dakar. Air France, Brussels Air, Alitalia, Iberia and TAP all offer service to Dakar from European cities; U.S. travelers may connect to these carriers via U.S. airline code share agreements.

Plan routes and verify reservations early since many flights are fully booked. In addition, it is important to remain cognizant of "Fly American Act" restrictions for all official travel. (South African Airways and Air France are code share partners with the U.S. carrier Delta Airlines.)

Customs, Duties, and Passage

Customs and Duties Last Updated: 1/16/2004 4:43 AM

Senegalese customs authorities are occasionally slow when clearing personal shipments. However, free entry is extended to all initial personal effects, including one car, and subsequent small orders of personal items, liquor, and cigarettes arriving collectively in the Ambassador's name. Most personnel order items from the U.S. via pouch, avoiding international parcel post.

For each family member, bring at least 20 (1 1/2" x 2") photos for identification cards, visas, and drivers licenses.

Passage Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:35 AM

American citizens entering Senegal must possess a valid passport and an international inoculation certificate bearing evidence of inoculation against yellow fever. American citizens do not need a Senegalese visa for visits of less than 90 days. Personal effects and lift vans should be carefully packed and waterproofed. Your initials must be plainly marked on each case. Address all effects (air and surface) shipped to Dakar as follows:

American Ambassador (Employee's initials) American Embassy Dakar, Senegal

Airfreight takes 2 - 4 weeks, with household shipments normally arriving 45 - 90 days after shipment, depending on the port of departure. Before arrival, confirm that your agency's transportation office has advised GSO of your household, air, and vehicle shipments. Also, GSO must have your vehicle make, type, color and serial number for clearing customs.

Commercial storage is scarce in Dakar. Do not bring more than you intend to use. Insurance is a must on all shipments, including personally owned vehicles.

Pets Last Updated: 1/16/2004 4:44 AM

Rabies is endemic in Senegal. Rabies shots should be renewed annually. Although no quarantine period is required, dogs and cats must have a valid health certificate and rabies certification before entering the country.

Several veterinarians practice in Dakar, including an English-speaking doctor who makes house calls. You should bring ample supplies of food and medicines if you have room in your household shipment.

Contact airlines for shipping details and secure reservations well in advance. Additionally, if you bring a pet, please inform GSO so that appropriate arrangements can be initiated.

Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 1/16/2004 4:45 AM

Automatic firearms are illegal in Senegal. Semiautomatic firearms, used for target shooting, not for hunting, are allowed. Up to four firearms and 1,000 rounds of ammunition may be imported only after obtaining proper permission, in the form of a written request, from the Ambassador.

Firearms and ammunition should be sent in your household surface shipment in a proper security container designated for such purposes, with proper locking mechanisms. The container should be the type that will allow proper storage of the weapons upon reaching post.

Firearms and ammunition sent via household surface shipment must be listed on the manifest and clear customs. This may cause delays in getting the appropriate clearances. Senegalese import and carrying permits are also required. Obtaining the required permits here takes time. An export permit from the Department of State is not required if firearms and ammunition are taken overseas for personal use and not intended for resale. However, Post has a strict policy regarding personal firearms. Firearms should be registered with U.S. Customs before departure to ensure re-import at the end of a tour. Only members of the Association Dakaroise de Tir may legally own handguns in Senegal. Organized hunting clubs exist. Senegal is one of the most liberal countries in the world regarding arms and their sporting use. For more detailed information on firearms and hunting in Senegal, contact the regional security office (RSO).

Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:47 AM

All Employees are paid biweekly. The Embassy cashier provides accommodation exchange in local currency.

Exchange rates fluctuate based on the dollar exchange rate to the EURO. The cashier maintains a limited supply of U.S. dollars for trips outside Senegal to non-CFA areas. CFA and EUROs are readily interchangeable in Dakar. CFA cannot be obtained or exchanged outside of CFA countries, except in France. The rate of exchange as of January 2004 is $1=512 CFA. See the following link for up-to-date exchange rate information:

Personnel find a U.S. checking account indispensable, but local accounts are available. Travelers checks are available at local banks. There are an increasing number of Automatic Teller Machines (ATM's) available in Dakar.

The metric system of weights and measures is used in Senegal.

Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 1/16/2004 6:39 AM


All official American personnel, including USAID contract employees, are exempt from Senegalese taxes. The Embassy exercises strict control on the sale of duty-free personal property to those without privileges and must receive a document from the Senegalese Government Customs Bureau confirming that the import duty was paid before purchasers may take possession. The sale of personal property with a value in excess of $300 must be approved by the Management Officer.


Employees with diplomatic and official passports may cash personal, U.S. Government Treasury and travelers checks at the Embassy cashier. Third-party checks are not accepted. Several commercial banks offer banking and exchange facilities. Most major hotels, airlines, and some shops accept major credit cards.

Recommended Reading Last Updated: 1/16/2004 4:54 AM

These publications are general indicators of available material on Senegal. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

American University, Area Handbook for Senegal. U.S Government Printing Office: Washington D.C., 1974.

Aynor, H.S. Notes from Africa. Praeger: New York, 1969.

Ba, Mariama. So long a Letter. African Writers Series (AWS) No. 248. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, Ibadan.

Fall, Malick. The Wound, (AWS) No. 144. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, and Ibadan.

Barry, Boubacar. Senegambia and The Atlantic Slave Trade. Cambridge University Press: 1998.

Foltz, William J. From French West Africa to the Mali Federation. Yale University Press: New Haven, 1965.

Gellar, Sheldon. Senegal: An African Nation Between Islam and the West. Westview Press: Boulder, CO., 1982.

Markovits, I.L. Leopold Sedar-Senghor and the Politics of Negritude. Atheneum: New York, 1969.

O'Brien, Donal B. Cruise. Saints and Politicians: Essays in the Organization of a Senegalese Peasant Society. Cambridge University Press: Cambridge, 1972.

O'Brien, Rita Cruise. White Society in Black Africa: The French in Senegal. Faber and Faber: London, 1972.

Ladd, Florence. Sara's Psalm. Simon & Schuster, Inc: 1996.

Sembene, Ousmane. XALA, (AWS), No. 175. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, Ibadan.

The Money Order, (AWS), No.92. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, Ibadan.

Sembene, Ousmane. God's Bits of Wood, (AWS), No 63. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, Ibadan.

Senghor, Leopold-Sedar. Nocturnes (Poetry), (AWS) No.71. Heinemann: London, Nairobi.

Prose and Poetry, (AWS) No.180. Heinemann: London, Nairobi, Ibadan.

On African Socialism. Praeger: New York, 1964.

Villalon, Leonardo. Democratizing A (Quasi) Democracy: The Senegalese Elections of 1993. African Affairs.Vol. E93: Pp. 163-193.

Insight Guides: The Gambia and Senegal. APA Publications: Singapore, 1990.

Linares, Olga F. Power, Prayer and Production. Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge, New York, N.Y. 1992.

Available at M/FLO are various post publications including Welcome to Dakar which describes in greater detail areas that are pertinent to your tour in Dakar.

Local Holidays Last Updated: 1/16/2004 5:47 AM

Embassy Dakar will be closed on the following holidays in 2004.



January 1 Thursday NewYear's Day A/S January 19 Monday Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday A February 2 Monday Tabaski * S February 16 Monday President's Day A February 22 Sunday Tamkharit * S April 4 Sunday Senegalese Independence Day S April 12 Monday Easter Monday S May 1 Saturday International Labor Day S May 3 Monday Maouloud * S May 20 Thursday Ascension S May 31 Monday Memorial Day/Whit Monday/Penecost A/S July 5 Monday U.S. Indenpendence Day A August 15 Sunday Assumption Day S September 6 Monday U.S. Labor Day A October 11 Monday Columbus Day A November 1 Monday All Saint's Day S November 11 Thursday Veteran's Day A November 14 Sunday Korite * S November 25 Thursday Thanksgiving Day A December 24 Friday Christmas Day ** A/S December 31 Friday New Year's Day** A/S

Please note:

A: American holiday S: Senegalese holiday * These holidays are lunar and subject to change by a day or two. **These holidays are observed one day before the official holiday

The Senegalese government has not yet officially confirmed all of these local holiday dates. We will revise this schedule as necessary.

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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