Preface Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:40 AM
Chad is a “developing” country whose progress since independence
has been impeded by recurrent periods of civil unrest and persistent
drought. However, the 1990s witnessed the arrival of a new
government, improved climatic conditions and renewed hope that
Chad’s significant oil reserves would finally be developed. As the
new millennium begins, the evidence suggests that Chad’s development
is more than a chimera and is now within reach despite formidable
obstacles in this remote, landlocked region of Africa on the edge of
the Sahara desert.
With over 100 languages spoken, three major religions, three
climatic zones and an ancient history, the culture of Chad is rich,
diverse and complex. This complexity makes it extremely difficult to
make general statements about the nation’s culture, as what is
important for one group or region may not hold for another.
In the northern third of the country, in the heart of the Sahara,
the Toubou people are in the majority. They are probably descendants
of Berber migrants and are, like the Arabs to the south, Muslim.
They are herders and nomads, fiercely independent, strong in battle
and extremely clan-oriented.
Concentrated in the middle third of Chad is another broad
grouping with a distinct cultural influence, the Arabs. Chadian
Arabs, as well as the other groups that inhabit this central zone,
are mostly semi-nomads who graze their herds over the Sahel and
practice limited, high-risk agriculture on semi-arid lands.
In the south, another distinct set of cultural practices
dominate. The people here are related to tribes farther south and
are non-Muslim. Most of these people are Christian or practice
traditional faiths. About 30% of Chad’s population is made up of the
Sara from this region.
About 2,500 years ago, Lac Chad was as large as present-day
Greece and Yugoslavia combined. The climate was much wetter and wild
animals were abundant. It is an interesting fact that in the
debilitating 1984 drought, it was possible to walk across the lake.
Today, in the far north of the country, in the expanse of desert
that was once lake and shore, archaeologists have uncovered a rich
range of fossils and rock engravings made by hunters.
When the French colonial system arrived in Chad at the end of the
19th century, abolishing the slave trade, they found willing
converts among the southern populations to their religious teachings
and educational programs.
When independence came in 1960, southerners had control of Chad.
This jarred badly with the northerners, who viewed the southern
Africans as either subjects or slaves. It was a time of political
instability and economic weakness in Chad and, with the onset of
cyclical droughts from the later 1960s, the situation only worsened.
Civil unrest turned into civil war. Chad was much like its neighbors
across Francophone north and central Africa, in a cycle of military
crackdowns and attempted coups.
With one of the most painful histories in Africa, Chad is a
nation with its foundations built on the precipice of conflict. A
harsh climate, geographic remoteness, poor resource endowment, and
lack of infrastructure have combined to create a weak, economy
susceptible to political turmoil. However, with the $3.5 billion
investment in Chad’s oil development by an American-led consortium
currently under way and nominal progress registered in the area of
political reconciliation with opposition forces, the prospects for
stability and greater prosperity have never been better.
The Host Country
Area, Geography, and Climate Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:41 AM
Chad is a land-locked country in north central Africa measuring
496,000 square miles (1,284,000 square km), roughly the size of
Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico combined. Most of its ethnically and
linguistically diverse population of about 7.6 million to 8 million
lives in the south, with densities ranging from 54 persons per
square km. in the Logone River basin to 0.1 persons in the northern
B.E.T. desert region which is larger than France. The capital city
of N’Djamena, situated at the confluence of the Chari and Logone
Rivers, is cosmopolitan in nature, with a current population in
excess of 700,000 persons.
Chad has four bioclimatic zones. The northernmost Saharan Zone
averages less than 200 mm (8”) of rainfall annually. Its sparse
human population is largely nomadic, with cattle, small ruminants,
and camels. The central Sahelian Zone receives between 200mm and 600
mm (24”) rainfall and has vegetation ranging from grass/shrub steppe
to thorny, open savannah. Livestock production is the most important
economic activity there, but with significant agriculture that is
high-risk due to irregular rainfall. The Southern Zone, often
referred to as the Sudanian Zone, receives between 600 mm and 1,000
mm (39”), with woodland savannah and deciduous forests for
vegetation. A surplus of coarse grains, cassava, cotton and fruits
are produced here. Rainfall in the Guinea Zone, located in Chad’s
southwestern tip, ranges between 1,000 mm and 1,200 mm (47”).
The country’s topography is generally flat, with the elevation
gradually rising as one moves north and east away from Lake Chad.
The highest point in Chad is Emi Koussi, a mountain that rises 3,400
meters (11,200 feet) in the northern Tibesti Mountains. The Ennedi
Plateau and the Ouaddaï highlands in the east complete the image of
a gradually sloping basin, which descends toward Lake Chad. There
are also central highlands in the Guera region rising to 1,500
meters (4,900 feet).
Lake Chad is the second-largest lake in west Africa and is one of
the most important wetlands on the continent. Home to 120 species of
fish and at least that many species of birds, the lake has shrunk
dramatically in the last 4 decades due to the increased water use
and low rainfall. Bordered by Chad, Niger, Nigeria and Cameroon,
Lake Chad currently covers only 1,350 square km. down from 25,000
square km. in 1963. The Chari and Logone Rivers, both of which
originate in the Central African Republic and flow northward,
provide most of the water entering Lake Chad.
The capital, N’Djamena, which is located in the Sahelian Zone,
has a rainy season extending from June to October, characterized by
sporadic, heavy rains and increased humidity with high temperatures
in excess of 90°F. The remaining 8 months of the year are dry and
generally hot, with a brief respite from November to February when
daytime temperatures seldom exceed 90ºF and lows at night descend to
the 60s. Northeasterly winds off the desert, called the “harmattan,”
blow regularly during the dry season and envelop the town in a
shroud of thick dust. April/May temperatures regularly exceed 110ºF.
Population Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:42 AM
Chad’s population is composed of more than 200 ethnic groups
speaking 120 languages. Those in the north, central and eastern
regions are generally Muslim, accounting for 54% of the population.
Islam was introduced to Chad in the 10th century. Through their long
religious and commercial relationships with Sudan, Egypt and Libya,
many of Chad’s ethnic groups in the north and east have become
Arabized, speaking a dialect of the Arabic language and having many
cultural ties with their neighbors. People in the south are
Christian (34%) and animist (7%). They accepted French colonization
in the early 20th century and readily sent their children to the
foreigners’ schools, thus creating a body of trained civil servants
who assumed government positions when Chad gained independence in
1960. Historically in a subservient role vis-à-vis northern tribes,
southerners soon found themselves in positions of authority; this
became a source of friction between the two groups, eventually
erupting in armed conflict that began in 1965 and continued
intermittently until 1990.
French and Arabic are the two national languages. French is most
often used in conducting official business but an effort is under
way by the government to increase usage of Arabic. Chadian Arabic
serves as the lingua franca, especially in the marketplace and among
Public Institutions Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:45 AM
A strong executive branch headed by President Idriss Deby
dominates the Chadian political system. Following his military
overthrow of Hissène Habre in December 1990, Deby won presidential
elections in 1996 and 2001. The constitutional basis for the
government is the 1996 constitution, under which the president is
limited to two terms of office. The president has the power to
appoint the prime minister and the Council of State (or cabinet),
and exercises considerable influence over appointments of judges,
generals, provincial officials and heads of Chad’s parastatal firms.
In cases of grave and immediate threat, the president, in
consultation with the National Assembly President and Council of
State, may declare a state of emergency. Most of Deby’s key advisors
are members of the Zaghawa clan, although some southern and
opposition personalities are represented in his government.
According to the 1996 constitution, National Assembly deputies
are elected by universal suffrage for 4-year terms. Parliamentary
elections are scheduled for spring 2002. The Assembly holds regular
sessions twice a year, starting in March and October, and can hold
special sessions as necessary and called by the prime minister.
Deputies elect a president of the National Assembly every 2 years.
Assembly deputies or members of the executive branch may introduce
legislation; once passed by the Assembly, the president must take
action to either sign or reject the law within 15 days. The National
Assembly must approve the prime minister’s plan of government and
may force the prime minister to resign through a majority vote of
no-confidence. However, if the National Assembly rejects the
executive branch’s program twice in 1 year, the president may
disband the Assembly and call for new legislative elections. In
practice, the president exercises considerable influence over the
National Assembly through his ruling Patriotic Salvation Movement
(MPS) party structure.
Despite the constitution’s guarantee of judicial independence
from the executive branch, the president names most key judicial
officials. The Supreme Court is made up of a chief justice,
appointed by the president, and 15 councilors chosen by the
president and National Assembly; appointments are for life. The
Constitutional Council, with nine judges elected to 9-year terms,
has the power to review all legislation, treaties and international
agreements prior to their adoption. The constitution recognizes
customary and traditional law in locales where it is recognized and
to the extent it does not interfere with public order or
constitutional guarantees of equality for all citizens.
Idriss Deby came to power in December 1990, with Libyan
assistance, after almost 25 years of civil war. Formerly one of
then-President Habre’s leading generals, Deby launched a series of
Zaghawa-supported attacks on Habre. After 3 months of provisional
government, Deby’s Patriotic Salvation Movement (MPS) approved a
national charter on February 28, 1991, with Deby as president.
Intermittent, bloody clashes and coup attempts followed over the
next several years.
Talks with political opponents in early 1996 did not go well, but
Deby announced his intent to hold presidential elections in June.
Deby won the country’s first multiparty presidential elections, and
Deby’s MPS party won 63 of 125 seats in the January 1997 legislative
elections. International observers noted numerous serious
irregularities in presidential and legislative election proceedings.
Since 1997, there have been less frequent clashes between the
government and armed opposition groups. The largest remaining group,
the Movement for Democracy and Justice in Chad (MDJT), signed a
peace accord with the Deby government in January 2002. Deby won a
flawed 63% first-round victory in May 2001 presidential elections
after legislative elections were postponed until spring 2002.
During the mid-1990s, Deby gradually restored basic functions of
government and entered into agreements with the World Bank and IMF
to carry out substantial economic reforms. Oil exploitation in the
southern Doba region began in June 2000, with World Bank Board
approval to finance a small portion of a project aimed at transport
of Chadian crude through a 1,000-km. buried pipeline through
Cameroon to the Gulf of Guinea. The project establishes unique
mechanisms for World Bank, private sector, government and civil
society collaboration to guarantee that future oil revenues benefit
local populations and result in poverty alleviation. Success of the
project will depend on intensive monitoring efforts to ensure that
all parties keep their commitments. Debt relief was accorded to Chad
in May 2001.
Arts, Science, and Education Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:47 AM
It is estimated that 54% of Chadians live beneath the poverty
level. Only 2% of households have access to electricity, 7% have
access to toilets or latrines, and 27% have access to potable water.
The day-to-day struggle to survive precludes there being much
attention devoted to art and to structured leisure activities.
Still, there are reminders of earlier periods when art did indeed
occupy populations dwelling on Chadian soil. Six hundred rock
engravings and rock paintings, some going back as far as 6,000 B.C.
have been inventoried on rock escarpments in the Tibesti and Ennedi
mountains. These motifs are reproduced today by women artisans who
embroider them on table cloths, place settings and wall tapestries.
Often the fabric used for these artifacts is woven on hand looms
from local cotton.
Pottery, clay figurines and utensils carved from bone, bear
witness to the Sao culture which thrived in the southern Lake Chad
region and along the banks of the Chari and Logone Rivers during the
first millennium BC. A sampling of these late Neolithic artifacts
are on display in the national museum. Other local crafts that
attest to Chadian creativity in the arts include woven baskets and
goat-hair rugs from the Abéché region, and calebash bowls onto which
intricate patterns are burned. Not unexpectedly, many of these items
are utilitarian as well as esthetically pleasing. Modern art forms
include painting, which can be viewed in occasional shows in
N’Djamena, the theater, and some surprisingly good films making use
of local actors and dialects.
The 1995 discovery of an australopithecine jaw bone in the
Bahr-al-Ghazal region has attracted scientific interest in Chad. The
fossil, dated at 3.5 million years, has features that make it both
more primitive and more modern than other australopithecines found
in east and south Africa. Being the first creature of this type
found west of the Rift Valley, Chad’s Australopithecus barhelghazali,
or “Abel” for short, has introduced doubt into earlier theories of
human origins. In January 1996 and July 2000, other fossils of the
same type were discovered in the same general region, thus
confirming Chad’s importance in the field of paleontology.
Due to agriculture being the mainstay of Chad’s economy,
scientific research has to a large extent been focused on the
development of improved varieties of seed for cash and subsistence
crops, as well as on livestock vaccines.
Education has been one of Chad’s four priority development
sectors since 1999. Prior to that, however, many years of neglect
and insufficient resources produced an educational system that is
still overcrowded, understaffed, poorly equipped and ill-adapted to
preparing Chad’s youth for the employment market. Two-thirds of
Chad’s population is illiterate (56% illiteracy for men; 78% for
women). The inability of the government to provide schools and
teachers have forced local communities during the past 2 decades to
assume those responsibilities.
Today, salaries for 54% of all primary school teachers are being
paid by local communities; many secondary schools are also being
built, staffed and operated by village associations. The
precariousness of the present situation is, however, exemplified by
the large number of teachers (54% at the primary level) who lack
formal training, by the high percentage (65%) of classrooms that are
constructed of non-durable material, and by a student teacher ratio
(89:1 for the senior level of high school, except in N’Djamena where
the ratio is about 175:1) which strains credulity. Chad has three
universities, five higher education institutes, an agricultural
college and a variety of technical training centers.
Commerce and Industry Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:49 AM
Ranked 162 out of 174 countries in the 1999 UNDP Human
Development Report, Chad remains one of the poorest countries on the
globe. Its development has been hindered by geographic isolation,
poor infrastructure and a history of political instability. In
recent years, progress has been made in reducing some of the main
impediments to economic growth by implementing structural reforms
and improving infrastructure. The structure of the economy is
similar to that of other less developed sub-Saharan countries with a
small formal sector and a large, thriving informal sector.
Government statistics indicate the following GDP distribution:
agriculture 39% (of which farming 22%, livestock 14% and fishing
3%), industry 14% and services 47%. Cotton, traditionally the major
cash crop, accounts for more than half of export earnings. Cattle
and gum arabic, a resin exuded from the acacia tree and used as an
ingredient in soft drinks, adhesives, pharmaceuticals and
confections, round out the balance of major exports. Over 80% of the
workforce is involved in agriculture.
With the approval of a World Bank loan on June 6, 2000 for the
construction of an oil pipeline, the final obstacle to developing
Chad’s significant oil reserves, which were discovered 25 years ago
in the Doba basin, was removed.
Chad’s major industries include the ginning of cotton, the
manufacture of cooking oil and soap from cotton seed, the brewing of
beer, the manufacture of cigarettes and the bottling of soft drinks.
Chad is also the world’s second largest exporter of gum arabic.
Automobiles Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:51 AM
The lack of safe public transportation, and unsafe conditions for
pedestrians, makes it important that employees have a privately
owned vehicle. Roads that are in poor condition and even more poorly
maintained make it important that a POV be solidly built. Although
four-wheel-drive is not required for much of the year, travel over
N’Djamena’s many dirt roads—which become mud during the rainy
season—or travel outside the city make it an important consideration
for persons coming to Chad. It is a good idea for any vehicle
shipped to Chad to be equipped with all the heavy-duty options
Europe/Africa-specification models by Toyota, Peugeot, Nissan and
Suzuki are the most commonly available vehicles in N’Djamena for
purchase, replacement parts and qualified repair personnel.
Vehicles, spare parts and knowledgeable service technicians for
American-makes are not usually easy to find. For any vehicle, but
particularly for American ones, it is necessary to ship a good
supply of common spare parts: filters, fan belts, spark plugs, light
bulbs, extra tires and at least one extra rim, as well as a
comprehensive repair manual (perhaps even in French). Other parts
can be shipped in as needed via airmail/pouch or airfreight, and
Embassy mechanics will often work on private vehicles after hours/on
weekends at the owner’s expense.
Color restrictions do not exist in Chad, although many personnel
find that light colors deflect the heat more effectively. There are
also no age restrictions, but any vehicle imported to Chad must be
in good operating condition in order to pass a vehicle safety
inspection. Finally, although gasoline is available in cities, it is
often difficult to find outside of large towns, which leads many
employees to purchase a diesel-powered vehicle. At the time of this
update, fuel is being sold for about $0.75 per liter/$2.75 per
There is usually a good supply of used vehicles on the market
from departing diplomatic or non-governmental organization
personnel. If personnel entitled to such privilege imported the
vehicle duty free, it can be sold to Embassy personnel without
payment of customs duties. Personnel assigned to Chad by the U.S.
Government are entitled to import one car duty free. Duty-free
importation and licensing of vehicles is arranged by the Embassy.
Either CD (Corps Diplomatique) or PAT (Personnel Administratif et
Technique) license plates will be issued to personnel, dependent
upon the owner’s diplomatic title. In accordance with U.S. law, all
personnel are required to maintain the minimum insurance required by
local law, third party liability, which varies in cost but, at the
time of this writing, costs about $80. The Embassy will assist each
owner with all initial licensing, registration, importation and
other formalities related to motor vehicle ownership.
Local Transportation Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:51 AM
The Regional Security Officer has deemed local transportation
unsafe and does not recommend its use by Embassy personnel. Vehicles
used for local transport are generally not well maintained, and are
often overcrowded. Taxis in N’Djamena are plentiful but fares must
be negotiated in advance. Yellow-colored taxicabs will take
passengers point-to-point, while van taxicabs run on prescribed
People usually go from one place to another on foot but bicycles,
motorbikes, shared taxis, donkeys, and private automobiles are the
main forms of transportation for local residents. Travel between
towns usually involves catching a ride on a freight truck, “bush
taxi” or bus.
Regional Transportation Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:52 AM
Air France, Cameroon Airlines, and Ethiopian Airlines offer
regular airline service within Africa and Europe. Airline schedules
are constantly changing. At this writing, Air France has three
different flights to and from Paris weekly. Cameroon Airline offers
several flights a week to Yaounde and Douala. Ethiopian Airlines
offers service to Addis Ababa twice a week. Travelers should check
the latest version of the Official Airline Guide or various internet
air travel reservation/ itinerary services (i.e., Travelocity. com,
Preview Travel, etc.)
During the dry season, trucks and bus taxis ply Chad’s dirt
roads, hauling goods and people. During the rainy season, most roads
out of town are impassable. In addition, there are enforced “rain
barriers” which may require a minimum of a four-hour wait following
rainstorms. There are no railroads in Chad.
Telephones and Telecommunications Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:53
International direct dialing is available from all Embassy
residences and facilities. Rates are high, but were recently dropped
due to competition by new cellular phone providers. Cellular service
recently became available but coverage is limited at the present
time to N’Djamena. Costs are high, but it is generally believed that
cellular service will be more reliable than regular telephones.
Chad’s country code is 235. The Embassy’s main switchboard can be
reached at  51–70–09, 51–90–52, 51–92–33, and the fax number is
Internet Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:53 AM
The only internet service provider in Chad is InternetChad,
operated by the country’s telephone utility (SoTel). Access speeds
are generally limited to 28,000 BPS, although recently access speeds
have been seen as high as 56,000 BPS. Still, bandwidth outside of
Chad is limited, and during most of the working day connections are
difficult to establish and, once on, download speeds are slow. Costs
for internet access are calculated on a monthly access charge of
20,000 CFA, and a per-minute fee of 40 CFA.
Mail and Pouch Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:54 AM
Inbound diplomatic pouch service from Washington is available to
all authorized Washington-assigned personnel and is reliable, with
delivery usually within 10–18 days of post date for letter mail,
except during the weeks leading up to Christmas. The diplomatic
pouch address is as follows:
Name of Employee Department of State 2410 N’Djamena Place
Washington, DC 20521–2410
Personal mail may be received at the newly established Dulles,
Name of Employee 2410 N’Djamena Place Dulles,Virginia 20189–2410
International mail service is also reliable for letter mail, less
so for packages. The mailing address for international mail is as
Ambassade des Etats-Unis d’Amerique Attn: Name of Employee B.P.
413 N’Djamena, Republique du Tchad
As with any other area of interest, please contact your
predecessor, the Community Liaison Office at NdjamenaCLO@state.gov,
or the Administrative Office at NdjamenaInfo@state.gov for further
Radio and TV Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:54 AM
Both BBC and Radio France International are available on the FM
band in Chad. Apart from BBC (and VOA shortwave transmissions),
virtually all radio programming is in French, Arabic or local
languages. The government-run radio (RNT) offers news, information
and entertainment programs on SW, AM and FM frequencies, backed up
by several FM sub-stations in the provinces. Three private,
non-commercial radio stations—DJA FM, FM Liberté‚ and Radio Al-Nassr—have
also appeared in N’Djamena over the past few years, and there has
been a proliferation of community radio stations outside the
Chad’s only TV station remains the Government-controlled Tele-Tchad
(TVT) in N’Djamena, broadcasting in French and Arabic. Various
satellite hookups are available, however, and there is a local cable
provider, Orbital, with a menu including CNN and the French TV5.
Official residences receive AFRTS (which now includes an all-news
channel), and CNN is run in the American Club during the day.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals Last Updated:
12/8/2003 12:55 AM
Freedom of the press was inaugurated in Chad in 1990. In addition
to the government-run Info-Tchad, there is now a private (but
government leaning) daily, Le Progrès, a bi-weekly, Ndjamena Bi-Hebdo,
three major weeklies (Le Temps, Notre Temps, l’Observateur), and two
monthly magazines (Tchad et Culture, Carrefour).
Apart from personal overseas subscriptions, which arrive fairly
promptly through the pouch, the International Herald Tribune is
received by various Embassy offices and is also available—along with
Time, Newsweek, the London Financial Times, and a number of French
publications—at the local bookshop, Al Akhbaar. The Embassy library
also receives a number of American and French periodicals. Internet
access is available in Chad, but there is only one local provider,
and service is slow and expensive.
Health and Medicine
Medical Facilities Last Updated: 2/11/2004 4:07 AM
The Health Unit is located within the Embassy compound and is
staffed by a Foreign Service Health Practitioner (FSHP), a local
hire nurse and a full-time lab technician. It is open Monday to
Thursday 7:30–5:00 and Friday 7:30–12:30. The Regional Medical
Officer, based in Bamako, schedules visits 2–3 times per year.
Two French dentists practice in the city for part of the year but
are quite expensive. There are also two missionary trained Chadian
dentists who can do very basic dentistry and have been well received
by the ex-pat and missionary communities.
A general hospital in N’Djamena is staffed by Chadian and foreign
doctors. However, the standard of health care in the hospital is
low; poor funding, training, and lack of equipment, facilities and
cleanliness contribute to levels of care that are unacceptable by
Western standards and expectations.
The well-equipped hospital at the French military base in
N’Djamena has been generally willing to provide emergency care to
Embassy officers and their families.
Include an ample supply of special medications or any
over-the-counter medications that you rely on and make arrangements
for periodic refilling of your prescriptions from the U.S. An
adequate choice of basic drugs imported from Europe can be found in
several pharmacies around town. Bring first-aid cream and ointments,
Band-Aids, bandages, suntan lotions and sunscreens, vitamins, and
plenty of insect repellent. The Health Unit does not stock common
over-the-counter medicines for general distribution. Make sure that
you pack and ship a supply adequate for your tour. Additionally,
several internet-based vendors (http://www.webrx.com, http://www.drugemporium.com,
http://www.drugstore.com, etc.) can be accessed from Chad and orders
can be delivered to the diplomatic pouch address.
Medical evacuation to London is authorized by the RMO and FSHP in
consultation with MED. Medical evacuation to the U.S. can be
arranged on a cost construct basis if it is not authorized.
More information about the general health and medical situation
in Chad, as well as recommended and required immunizations, can be
obtained from the Centers for Disease Control web site at http://www.cdc.gov
Community Health Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:58 AM
Your tour here can be healthy if a few basic precautions are
taken. Up-to-date immunizations, cleanliness, spraying against
insects, prompt attention to scrapes and cuts, maintaining a
balanced diet, drinking plenty of liquids, adequate rest, and
avoiding over-exertion in the extreme heat are wise precautions.
There are annual outbreaks of cholera and meningitis that strike the
local populace. Vaccination and proper sanitary habits have been
sufficient to protect the American community against these
outbreaks. Yellow fever immunization is required for entry into
As malaria is endemic in Chad and is chloroquine-resistant,
prophylaxis should be started 2 weeks prior to arrival at post and
continued for about 4 weeks after departure. Once in Chad the Health
Unit will provide a supply of the appropriate prophylactic drug.
The Department requires those taking Mefloquine to read and sign
a statement of understanding. Please ensure that you have complied
with the procedure or been fully informed of its requirements prior
to your arrival. The Embassy provides mosquito netting at each
No sewage treatment plant exists, but houses occupied by
Americans have septic tanks. GSO collects refuse at Mission homes
weekly. There is no municipal refuse collection. Most city residents
deposit their refuse in the streets. At various seasons, insects are
prolific; mosquitoes, flies, gnats, grasshoppers and occasionally
locusts can be a significant nuisance.
N’Djamena draws its water supply from three enormous wells that
have never failed in the city, even during the droughts. Water
pressure can be very low when the electricity goes out and the pumps
won’t fill the water towers. Water is NOT potable. Each residence is
equipped with one faucet that delivers filtered water for cooking,
drinking, and ice cubes. Boiling and filtering is an option. Bottled
water may be purchased locally and is readily available.
All Mission houses are air-conditioned and screened but require
insecticides to keep mosquitoes and other insects under control.
Preventive Measures Last Updated: 12/8/2003 12:59 AM
Infections of the gastrointestinal tract and malaria are the most
common diseases among the local population. Eye diseases, leprosy,
venereal diseases, AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, dysentery, tropical
ulcers, pneumonia, bilharzia, influenza, measles, cholera,
hepatitis, and fungal infections are common. Aside from cases of
upset stomach, American Mission employees are spared most of these
diseases because they take proper hygienic measures and are
generally well-nourished and healthy. Bring an adequate supply of
such remedies as cold tablets, Tylenol, Maalox, skin conditioners,
etc. The Health Unit does not routinely supply these items.
Occasional diarrhea, head colds, and sore throats caused by
dust-borne germs, and aggravated by extreme dryness during the dry
“harmattan” season, do occur.
Cooks should be carefully supervised to ensure that hygienic
measures are followed. Raw fruits and vegetables, especially cabbage
and lettuce, are particularly difficult to free from contamination.
Soak thoroughly (about 20 minutes) in a bleach solution before
eating. Avoid salads in restaurants.
Consult with the Department of State Medical Division for
immunizations that are required or recommended prior to coming to
Chad. The Health Unit has prepared a comprehensive post medical
guide. The guide has been printed electronically and will be made
available via email to persons considering official assignments to
Chad, or those already assigned to post. Please contact the CLO via
email at NdjamenaCLO@state.gov should you wish to have this sent to
you. The Foreign Service Health Practitioner gives printed copies to
newcomers during an initial orientation visit to the Health Unit
soon after arrival in Chad.
Employment for Spouses and Dependents Last Updated: 2/11/2004
Employment opportunities for Eligible Family Members are limited
Within the Mission, several Family Member Appointment positions
exist including the Community Liaison Office Coordinator, GSO
Assistant (Maintenance), GSO Assistant (Procurement Supervisor), RSO
Office Management Specialist and WAE/PSA Security Escorts. Further,
due to the small size of the Embassy and the various official
functions that are required, it may be possible to match the
knowledge, skills and abilities possessed by a family member with
existing needs within the Mission.
The American International School of N’Djamena (AISN) frequently
has vacancies for teaching staff as well as volunteer opportunities.
The Department of State’s Public Diplomacy English Language Teaching
Program also has frequent vacancies for contract teaching staff.
Please contact the CLO who can facilitate contact with the directors
of these programs.
Employment opportunities outside the Mission continue to be
scarce and require a good working knowledge of French and/or Arabic.
The United Nations will occasionally have vacancies, but such jobs
are usually filled from the U.S. If a family member is interested in
such a possibility, he/she should contact the employment counselor
at the Family Liaison Office for assistance in arranging an
Finally, opportunities to volunteer in a variety of areas abound.
Whether assisting orphanages, tutoring children, or assisting in
development projects, great needs exist in Chad. Again, the CLO can
assist in making contacts with organizations and individuals in
American Embassy - N’Djamena
Post City Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:01 PM
N’Djamena, formerly Fort Lamy, is located at the confluence of
the Chari and Logone Rivers, nearly 1,000 feet above sea level in an
arid, savanna region. N’Djamena, which is the center of government,
commerce, banking, communications, and foreign trade, was largely
destroyed during 1979–82 by civil war. Rebuilding continues and much
reconstruction has now been completed.
Physically and architecturally, N’Djamena is two cities in one:
French colonial and Chadian. The more affluent section of town is
characterized by wide, tree-lined streets and white cement homes set
in ample gardens. Most government buildings, embassies, and larger
stores are located in this section, which lies along the river from
the city center to the airport.
Stretching to the south and east, the much larger Chadian section
is characterized by narrow, busy, unpaved streets and one-story mud
houses with corrugated, galvanized metal doors and roofs. Spices and
a limited variety of foods from various parts of Chad, together with
extensive but rudimentary new manufacturing activities, can be found
in the large, sprawling city market.
Visitors may observe basket weaving, wood carving, carpet and
mat-making, pottery decorating, cloth dyeing, and peanut grinding
all within the market enclosure. The colors, sounds, and smells of
the market are unforgettable. It is the center of N’Djamena’s
One landmark that has been rebuilt is the architecturally
striking Cathedral of Notre Dame. Another is the Eboue Monument at
Place Eboue, opposite City Hall, honoring Felix Eboue, Governor of
Chad from 1938 to 1940 and Governor General of French Equatorial
Africa from 1940 to 1944.
Americans from the private voluntary organizations, the U.N.,
missionaries, and employees of the ESSO exploration firm-numbering
about 250—make up the rest of the American community. Numbers will
increase rapidly as the major oil pipeline project expands.
The Post and Its Administration Last Updated: 2/11/2004 3:39 AM
The Embassy is comprised of two agencies: the Department of State
and the Department of Defense (Defense Attaché‚ Office, Security
Assistance Office, and Marine Security Guard Detachment). State is
divided into the following offices: Executive Office,
Political/Economic, Political/Military, Public Diplomacy, Regional
Security Office, Information Programs/Systems Office,
Administrative/ Financial Management/Human Resources Office, Health
Unit, Consular Office, Commercial Office and General Services
All but the General Services Office are located on the Chancery
compound on Avenue Félix Eboué along the banks of the Chari River.
The General Services compound is on Avenue Charles de Gaulle, 2
miles from the Chancery compound toward the airport.
The Embassy’s office hours are as follows:
07:30–5:00 Monday–Thursday (45-minute lunch break) 07:30–12:30
The Embassy’s main switchboard, including the General Services
Compound, can be reached by calling 51–70–09 / 51–90–52 / 51-92-33 /
51–92–18 / 51–77–59 or by fax at 51–56–54. The international dialing
code for Chad is 235.
Temporary Quarters Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:13 PM
Every effort is made to make housing ready and available for new
arrivals. Hotels are used for short-term TDY personnel or in the
unusual event that permanent housing is not immediately available.
Permanent Housing Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:14 PM
Housing assignments are based on an employee’s representational
responsibilities, family needs, and availability in accordance with
Inter-Agency housing standards found in 6 FAM 700. A housing board
comprised of a cross-section of Mission staff assigns quarters in
consultation with the Administrative and General Services Officers.
The Ambassador’s residence, next to the Chancery, is a spacious,
modern dwelling completed in late 1974. It has a large living room,
a separate stepdown dining room, five bedrooms, kitchen, and
storeroom. A two-tiered garden behind the house contains a large
swimming pool, outdoor bar, storeroom, dressing rooms, and
toilet/shower facilities. A laundry is in a small structure in front
of the house. As an official residence, it is equipped with table
and glassware, china, kitchen utensils, and linens.
The DCM’s home was secured under Short-Term Lease in 1997 and is
located about 1.5 miles from the Chancery near Le Chari Meridien
Hotel. It is a two-story structure with swimming pool and terrace
overlooking the Chari River. The house is equipped with table, glass
and chinaware, kitchen utensils, and linens.
According to the Overseas Building Operations Office, the EMR and
DCR are slated for design review and refurbishing during FY 2003.
In accordance with regulation, the Inter-Agency Housing Board has
made one dedicated housing assignment to the Defense Attaché.
Secured under Short-Term Lease and comprehensively renovated in
early 2000, the four-bedroom house has a fully renovated kitchen,
circular driveway, in-ground swimming pool and is located about 2
miles from the Chancery, across the street from the Embassy’s
principal housing compound.
Other housing at post is a mix of government-owned (two
properties), Long-Term Lease (a six-unit residential compound
adjacent to the American School) and Short-Term Lease. Houses are
built of cement, brick, tile, and plaster. Since wood is scarce and
deteriorates rapidly, little is used. Most window and doorframes are
locally fabricated metal; floors are linoleum or ceramic tile.
Patios are brick or cement, and cupboards are usually masonry and
tile. Construction standards are poor and interior design (kitchens,
for example) is often inconvenient. Over the past several years,
however, the Embassy has made substantial improvements in its
Although bedrooms in some homes are small, most do have built-in
closets. Living rooms, dining rooms, and bathrooms are often large.
Windows and doors have metal grills or shutters for security as well
as for shade.
Furnishings Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:14 PM
All houses are provided with basic furnishings, including
refrigerator, freezer, washer, dryer, vacuum cleaner, electric hot
water heater, gas stove, and microwave oven. Living rooms, dining
rooms, and occupied bedrooms are air-conditioned. Carpets as well as
an ample drapery allowance are provided. Porch/patio furniture is
furnished to all houses. Contact the appropriate agency
administrative officer to get an accurate list of provided household
Bring throw rugs, wall decorations, knickknacks, books, tapes,
etc., to personalize your home. Also bring pillows, sheets
(queen-sized beds are provided in the master bedroom), blankets,
bedspreads, towels, shower curtains, and kitchen utensils. Bring
treasured items at your own risk. Entertaining is usually informal,
so a large supply of inexpensive glasses, extra ice trays, an
outdoor charcoal grill, a Coleman-type cooler, insulated water
containers, lawn chairs, and similar recreational and convenience
items are useful.
Please note that certain types of plastics suffer more in the
extreme dryness and crack or disintegrate. Many glues and other
adhesives become brittle or melt and lose adhesiveness.
Utilities and Equipment Last Updated: 2/11/2004 4:39 AM
All U.S. Government-leased and -owned houses have hot and cold
running water, electricity (220v, 50-Hz), air conditioners, sinks,
showers, bathtubs, and toilets. Plumbing and electrical
installations are less reliable than in the U.S. or Europe and are
subject to more frequent malfunctions. Electricity goes off
frequently, at irregular intervals, and for unpredictable lengths of
time, sometimes for several hours. Power fluctuations are also a
problem. Backup electrical needs are usually met by U.S.
Electrical appliances should be 220v, 50Hz. Although a few
transformers are provided, bring a couple of extra stepdown
transformers to run your 110v appliances. Surge protectors and power
strips are highly recommended for your home computer and other
electronic items. When not in use, it is best to unplug all
Note: Domestic staff sometimes forget to use the transformers.
Appliances rated at 220 volts are a wise investment. All
motor-driven equipment made for 60Hz current (as in the U.S.) will
run more slowly on the local 50Hz current and tend to break or wear
out quickly. Check to see if your entertainment equipment needs to
be converted to 50Hz and have it done before you pack it; this
cannot be done in Chad.
Food Last Updated: 2/11/2004 4:06 AM
Most local meats are sold at the central market, where hygiene is
not good. There are at least two traveling butchers (meat men) who
proceed door-to-door taking orders for meat and fish and several
butchers’ shops. Slaughter at the abatoirers de Farcha insures an
acceptable level of hygiene and is supervised by a veterinarian who
certifies the meat. Several food stores in N’Djamena sell meat with
higher standards of operation than the open market, including costly
frozen imports from France.
Local beef, pork, and mutton are relatively good, somewhat
expensive, and available in ample supply. Some meats are currently
imported into N’Djamena. Only French- and European-style cuts are
offered. Local chickens are small and somewhat tough if bought at
the market. A farm operating from a small village near N’Djamena
offers better quality poultry. Large Nile perch, known locally as “capitaine,”
and other high-quality freshwater fish from the Chari River are
available in season, but are somewhat expensive. Two local food
stores sell imported patés, salami, sausages, frozen fish, and
shellfish, and other frozen foods. All are expensive. Eggs can be
bought in some of the food stores or from vendors on the street in
front of supermarkets.
The food stores in N’Djamena (about half a dozen clustered along
the main street, Avenue Charles de Gaulle) offer an adequate range
of merchandise imported from Europe (mostly France), Cameroon, and
Nigeria. In addition to the meats and frozen foods listed above, you
can find long-life and powdered milk, yogurt (rich), canned
vegetables, jams, pasta, coffee, tea, cookies, candies, chocolate,
potato chips, etc. In addition, a range of cheeses such as brie,
cheddar, mozzarella, as well as sour cream are available. All are
The general stores sometimes offer a selection of wine and
liquor, as do several specialty shops. Gala beer, brewed in southern
Chad, is excellent. It is sold by the case (12 one-liter bottles) at
several places in N’Djamena which also sell a selection of soft
drinks: bottled Coke, Sprite, Fanta Orange, soda water, tonic (also
in cans at some food stores), and a variety of locally produced
fruit-based soft drinks. A variable selection of French wines is
available at the Coca-Cola bottling plant at reasonable prices.
A selection of locally grown vegetables, such as lettuce,
avocados, tomatoes, eggplant, potatoes, carrots, green beans,
squash, zucchini, onions, and radishes, are available in season.
Pineapples, melons, grapefruit, mangoes, papayas, avocados,
lemons, limes, and bananas are sold in season. The supermarkets
offer a limited quantity of expensive, imported vegetables (lettuce,
artichokes, tomatoes) and fruits (apples, tangerines, pears,
Bread (including French “baguettes”) is sold fresh several times
during the day in the little kiosks or stalls at street corners all
over N’Djamena. Two pastry shops offer crescent rolls, apple
turnovers, raisin buns and French-style pies and cakes (all
expensive, but good).
Clothing Last Updated: 2/11/2004 3:50 AM
General. Clothes suitable for Washington, D.C. summers are
appropriate in N’Djamena. Bring enough lightweight clothing and
shoes to last your tour. Extra shoes are advisable due to the
difficult terrain and climate. Local tailors can make acceptable
safari suits, dresses, and shirts. Two drycleaners are available,
although employees report poor results. Although summer clothing is
worn year round in Chad, clothing for other seasons may be useful
for trips to Europe or the U.S. on leave, consultations, medical
evacuation, or transfer.
The Community Liaison Office (CLO) maintains a selection of mail
Men Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:18 PM
Summerweight suits, short sleeved sport shirts and slacks, and
similar wear are suitable for the office and most social events.
Business suits are worn for official calls and for some social
events. Formal occasions do not occur often. Once or twice a year a
tuxedo is appropriate, although a dark suit is generally acceptable.
All types of shoes and sandals are worn. Bring an adequate supply,
since good shoes are not available, and gravelly, dusty walkways
cause rapid deterioration. Bring a good supply of socks, underwear,
and other needed clothing. As much as possible, bring all cotton or
largely cotton blends for coolness and ease of laundering. If you
are sensitive to sun, a hat that can be worn or pocketed as the
occasion demands, will be useful. Bring an umbrella for the rainy
season and a sweater for nights out during the cool, dry season.
Military personnel should write to their predecessors well in
advance of arrival to determine current uniform requirements.
Women Last Updated: 2/11/2004 4:55 AM
Women wear casual clothes. Senior officers and wives of senior
officers will need more formal clothing. Cottons and cotton blends
are recommended for coolness. Long summer dresses are often
appropriate. Tailors can make simple dresses (short and long) with
locally purchased material or material brought in your effects.
Bring an evening gown or cocktail dress for the Marine Ball and an
adequate supply of shoes, sandals, and underwear. A sweater is
recommended during the cool, dry season. Hose may be desired for
nights out during the cool season, but are not considered necessary
at dressy functions. Bring an umbrella for the rainy season.
Children Last Updated: 2/11/2004 5:04 AM
Bring an ample supply of warm-weather clothing (cotton
recommended) including underwear, shorts, T-shirts, long pants (for
the cool season), swimsuits, canvas shoes and sandals. Clothing for
younger children is always very casual. Older children will need a
dressier outfit for occasional events. Also bring some lightweight
sweatshirts or sweaters for the cool, dry season. Several catalogues
and internet sites are available for children as well as adults. See
CLO for details.
Supplies and Services
Supplies Last Updated: 2/11/2004 4:04 AM
Most items are available locally — at a price — so bring a supply
of cosmetics, toilet articles, shampoo, conditioner, lotions for dry
skin, toothpaste, home remedies, sunscreens, and plenty of insect
repellant and insecticide. An adequate choice of basic drugs
imported from Europe can be found in several pharmacies around town.
Also, a small “parfumerie” in N’Djamena sells expensive perfumes and
cosmetics. Your initial shipment of consumables should include
soaps, anti-bacterial soaps, toilet paper, scouring powder,
dishwashing liquid, detergent, paper goods (such as aluminum foil,
plastic wrap, ziplock bags, and wax paper), cleaning supplies, and
storage containers. (These are sometimes available at local stores
or in the market, but are quite expensive.)
Bring entertainment accessories for adults’ and children’s
parties and all gifts and decorations for special occasions, such as
Christmas, Easter, Halloween, and birthdays. Many bring an
artificial Christmas tree and decorations. Do not forget a supply of
holiday cards, although some locally designed cards are available in
limited quantity at some of the “librairies-papeteries” and art
centers. Include a supply of common repair materials and tools used
around the house. If you enjoy gardening, bring seeds, special
fertilizers, and basic tools. For those who like to sew, bring a
complete supply of notions and patterns, although threads are
available locally. Bring flashlights and candles to have on hand
during power failures. Include a battery charger and a supply of
rechargeable batteries for your household needs.
Basic Services Last Updated: 2/11/2004 3:52 AM
Basic tailoring is available in N’Djamena. Tailors can copy an
item or work from a picture. Rudimentary shoe repair is available at
the market. Two adequate hairdressers are located in N’Djamena
(men’s and women’s haircuts, shampoo, set and manicure). In
addition, there is usually a member of the ex-pat community who is
available and has had training in hair styling.
The Embassy and GSO mechanics will often repair private cars
during their off-duty hours. (Many people drive Peugeot 504’s and
Toyota light trucks because local mechanics are familiar with these
vehicles and spare parts are often available.) Building maintenance
is accomplished through the Embassy General Services Section.
Domestic Help Last Updated: 2/11/2004 3:54 AM
Good servants, particularly cooks, are available and best sought
out through past recommendations. Usually they are willing but
untrained and must be carefully supervised. Most are honest, but
naturally should not be unduly tempted. House and laundry staff are
readily obtainable. Servants are not accustomed to American
standards of cleanliness.
Nannies can be found. Servants may work 8 hours daily, 6 days a
week. Food and lodging are usually not provided for servants, but
most houses have shower and toilet facilities for employees. The
average monthly salary for a cook is between 45,000–90,000 CFA
francs (the rate of exchange is 520 CFA per $1 as of February 2004).
A full-time housekeeper earns between 50,000–90,000 CFA per
month. Wages are paid monthly or bimonthly. Servants speak basic
French, although a few Nigerians may be found who speak English.
Gardeners can be hired part time. One must buy accident insurance
and contribute to a social security fund; conditions of servant
employment are regulated by a labor code. All servants should be
given a medical examination upon first employment and at regular
intervals thereafter. The Embassy Foreign Service Health
Practitioner is available to help coordinate this. The Regional
Security Office should be asked to check prospective servants’
Religious Activities Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:22 PM
Catholic. Services take place at the Cathedral on Sunday morning
at 8:30 a.m. A Saturday evening Mass (6:45 p.m.) is held every 2
weeks. An English Mass is said at the chapel at 10:15 a.m. The
chaplain speaks English. The Catholic Mission in the Kabalaye
neighborhood celebrates smallhouse-type Mass on Saturday evenings in
the Mission House and Sunday mornings in the large church. In the
Chagoua neighborhood, an outdoor service is celebrated on Sunday
mornings. Services are in French, but a Mass in English is said once
each month at the Sacred Heart School.
Protestants. The Assemblee Chretienne and the Foyer Fraternal
both offer services on Sunday mornings in French. The Mennonite
Central Committee offers English-speaking Bible study one evening a
week. Eglise Evangelique has services on Sunday either in French,
Sara, or N’Gambaye, depending on the week. A nondenominational
English-language service is held every 2 weeks at SIL, one of the
missionary organizations, in the Moursel neighborhood.
Baha’i weekly prayer meetings in French are held on Saturday
afternoons at the Baha’i Center, as are regular meetings.
Muslim services are held at the Grande Mosque (Friday prayers)
and at the local mosques.
No synagogues are available.
At Post Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:23 PM The American
International School of N’Djamena (AISN) offers kindergarten through
grade 8. Please write to the AISN school administrator for proposed
educational arrangements for grades 9 through 12. The school was
opened in September 1985 and currently has 35 pupils. The AISN is
sponsored by the American Embassy and is subsidized by the U.S.
Government. Tuition varies according to enrollment and expenses. The
U.S. Government educational allowance fully covers these costs.
Employees with school-age children are encouraged to write to the
school administrator for the latest information on the school’s
programs. There are also preschools available in N’Djamena. Write to
the CLO for the latest information on these possibilities.
Ecole Montaigne, sponsored by the French Government, follows the
French curriculum from Maternelle (pre-school) through to the second
last year of the “Bac.” Further, the school offers the International
Baccalaureat. Staffed by French and other qualified expatriate
teachers, it has children from the international expatriate
community—French and others—as well as Chadians. It accepts only
children who speak fluent French for entry beyond kindergarten.
After passing the government exams in grade 6, Chadian primary
pupils go on to college (junior and senior high school). The best of
these is College Sacre-Coeur, a public school closely supervised by
the teaching order of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. This carries
students to a grade 10 equivalent; following graduation, students go
to one of three lycees (high schools).
Away From Post Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:23 PM Educational
allowance covers the cost of basic tuition and boarding. The
American Foreign Service Association and the Family Liaison Office
at the Department of State, both in Washington, D.C., have helpful
information on secondary schools in the U.S. and the Department’s
Office of Overseas Schools has information about schools in Europe
and elsewhere. European post reports are often helpful for those
seeking information on such schools.
Special Needs Education Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:23 PM
Recreation and Social Life
Sports Last Updated: 2/11/2004 5:08 AM
Sports On Sundays at the Concorde Stadium you can watch a soccer
match, basketball game, or horse racing (in season) next door.
Admission is free or inexpensive. Depending on participation, the
Embassy community and its friends play softball or volleyball.
Additionally, Embassy employees (American and FSN) gather to play
A clay tennis court at the Embassy is open to all employees and
dependents. Doubles matches are often coordinated. Bring a supply of
balls and an extra raquet due to the difficulty of restringing.
Contact the CLO if you would like information on other players
interested in matches.
The Marines host a “Sports Day” regularly with basketball and
sand court volleyball as well as swimming.
Touring and Outdoor Activities Last Updated: 2/11/2004 5:12 AM
The Chadian Government is sensitive about photography in
N’Djamena. Taking photographs in town is forbidden without a permit,
which costs 15,000 CFA francs and is valid for 1 month. Even with a
permit, various locations may not be photographed or videotaped. See
the Community Liaison Office Coordinator for more information.
The fascinating, sprawling open central market in N’Djamena is
well worth a visit. Spices, a variety of foods from all parts of
Chad, carpets, clothing, brightly patterned African materials, and
kitchenware are available.
The architecturally striking Cathedral of Notre Dame, seriously
damaged during Chad’s civil war (1979–1982) was rebuilt in the early
1990s. Another landmark is the Eboue Monument at Place Eboue,
opposite the City Hall. A small town just north of N’Djamena, called
Farcha, can be reached via a pleasant drive near the Chari River.
Dairy and nursery products are available there. On Sundays, Linia,
40 kilometers south of N’Djamena, has a market.
Some African art and handiwork can be purchased at the Centre
Artisanal, the Catholic Mission, and close to major hotels. Vendors
are also located in front of the stores along Avenue Charles de
Gaulle, N’Djamena’s main thoroughfare. Be ready to negotiate, as
bargaining is a way of life. The first price quoted is inevitably
highly inflated and vendors will be offended if you don’t join in
the “game.” You can buy jewelry in gold, silver, filigree, or have
them made to order in several jewelry stores (bijouteries) around
Abundant game and wide-open spaces once made Chad attractive to
European hunters as a safari site. As a result, populations of
larger game animals have been greatly reduced, though duck hunting
remains good. Dougia, a resort north of N’Djamena on the Chari
River, still has something to offer. It is a 45-minute drive north
on a paved road. A hotel and restaurant are located at the resort.
You can try your luck at fishing or water skiing or just take a walk
through the village. Motorboat tours are available for hippo
Within a 30-minute drive from Dougia lies a striking rock
formation called “Elephant Rock” or, in the local dialect, “Hamis al
Hadjer.” This natural formation resembles an elephant and contains
several shallow caves. The view from the summit of the surrounding
terrain is breathtaking.
The Embassy has a boat that can be reserved for game viewing
(hippopotamus, elephant, and a wide variety of bird life) picnicking
and fishing. Bring tackle, plenty of hooks, a hat and sunscreen as
well as lots of water. With some forward planning, boat excursions
on Lake Chad can be arranged.Chad has a very fine National Park,
Zakouma, with mostly animals and 200 bird species. It is a very long
day’s drive over rough roads, however.
Additionally, excursions to northern Cameroon can include:
Kale Maloue/Maroua. A small park inhabited by deer, elephants,
monkeys, wild pigs, and a variety of birds is 12 kilometers from
Kousseri, across the river from N’Djamena. Guided tours are
available during the dry season. Closed June–November.
Waza. A large game park with elephants, giraffes, lions, and a
variety of antelopes, gazelles, and birds. The park is open from
November 1 to May 31. After crossing the Chari River Bridge, it can
be reached over a good road in about 2 hours. A small but adequate
hotel and restaurant, consisting of a series of air-conditioned
round, cement block cottages with thatched roofs, are open year
Ourdjila. A village on top of a mountain, 1 hour from Maroua.
Tourists visit the chief ’s “sare” and the quarters of his numerous
Rhumsiki. Spectacular rock formations and a small hotel can be
seen along the Cameroonian-Nigerian border.
Maroua. A pleasant town with good hotels and restaurants (Le Sare
and Novotel) about 4 hours from N’Djamena. It is a trading center
and has a large handicraft center and central market.
Logone Birni. The ancient capital of the Sao sultanate, 1 hour to
the south on the Cameroonian side of the Logone River, features mud
fortifications still intact in places.
Maiduguri (Nigeria). For those with the occasional craving for an
Anglophone environment, Maiduguri is a day’s drive west. It boasts
an immense market with a wide array of goods. Maiduguri has a good
zoo and tourist accommodations are quite adequate.
Entertainment Last Updated: 2/11/2004 5:22 AM
There are various venues available for entertainment. Although
N’Djamena’s two theaters have been destroyed or converted to other
uses, films are regularly shown at the Marine House, and Le Centre
Culturel Français (French Cultural Center).
The Chadian National Ballet performs dances representative of
Chad’s different regions and ethnic groups. In addition, several
smaller dance bands play. Among them are “Hirondelle Sao (H-Sao),”
Le Centre Culturel Français (CCF), supported by the French
Government, offers annual memberships at very reasonable rates. It
has a good library (fiction, non-fiction, reference) in French,
offers monthly educational expositions regarding aspects of life in
Chad, has a stage for occasional concerts, plays, or other visiting
performers, video club, bridge club, chess, game nights, and movie
nights for children and adults.
Videos are available from local video stores as well as online.
Local stores only have SECAM or PAL system tapes, which require a
multi-system VCR and television. Chadian and Cameroonian television
can be received using regular “rabbit ear” antennae with
multi-system equipment. Finally, most homes are able to receive a
broadcast of the Armed Forces Radio and Television Service/Armed
Forces Network (AFRTS/AFN). Additional information can be obtained
from the CLO or Information Programs Office.
N’Djamena has several good restaurants ranging from traditional
Chadian cuisine to French, Lebanese, and Chinese. Also, discotheque
nightclubs have a variety of African, French, disco, and rock music
while casinos offer a chance to win it big (or, as the case may be,
lose it all).
Social Activities Last Updated: 2/11/2004 5:21 AM
A good deal of casual entertaining is done within the Embassy and
expatriate community. Small dinner parties are common. Other
activities include luncheons, dinners, and movies at the Marine
House, cocktail parties, sports, swimming at the Embassy pool, and
watching videos. The Marine Security Guards and the Community
Liaison Office sponsor parties for children and/or adults for
N’Djamena is an informal city and international friendships are
easily formed. Official and social contacts, participation in
sports, and religious activities all contribute. Professional
contacts frequently lead to social invitations for receptions or
dinners. Any contact outside the Mission usually requires a working
knowledge of French.
Numerous countries maintain diplomatic representation in
N’Djamena as well as several well-known international organizations.
These include various agencies of the United Nations, WorldVision,
Africare, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and others.
Nature of Functions Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:28 PM
The nature of functions and social usage in N’Djamena is similar
to those of other medium-sized posts in Africa. Formal wear is
seldom necessary. Protocol in N’Djamena is quite informal. However,
the Chadians whom you will meet at functions are typically
fashionably dressed. Attendance at national day receptions is
expected of senior Mission officers and their spouses.
Dark suits will serve men for the infrequent formal social events
while safari suits or sport shirts and slacks are the usual attire
for the frequent informal gatherings. Cocktail dresses and long
summer cotton dresses will serve women for formal, informal, and
casual functions. Short dresses may be worn at private functions,
although Chadian social norms preclude wearing of “revealing”
clothing in public.
Standards of Social Conduct Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:29 PM
Invited Mission personnel are expected to attend all official
Embassy functions, those of the Chadian Government, and of the
Diplomatic corps. Chadian social standards are similar to American
and French standards. Bring a supply of calling cards. Invitation
cards can be printed locally on short notice, but are expensive.
Check with your agency to determine wording and necessary
quantities. For additional guidance, refer to the Department of
State booklet Diplomatic Social Usage, available from the Overseas
Briefing Center located at the National Foreign Affairs Training
Center and on the Department of State opennet intranet.
Special Information Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:30 PM
The information contained in this report applies equally to all
personnel. Individuals are advised to correspond with incumbents
regarding extra items they should bring in addition to the
following: kitchen utensils, pots, pans, cutlery, dishes, place
settings, glassware, toaster, iron, ironing board, bed and table
linens, bedspreads, shower curtains, blankets, pillows, bathmats,
bathroom accessories, and items to accent the house. All shipments
of household effects (HHE) are sent part way by commercial
airfreight; make sure your shipping company understands this. Given
the harsh climate and political uncertainties, you should not bring
anything you do not wish to lose, such as expensive items, art work,
heirlooms, and family photographs
Post Orientation Program
The post orientation program is managed by the CLO in cooperation
with the new employee’s agency or office and a volunteer community
sponsor. As soon as the agency receives notice of a new assignment,
a “Welcome to Post” letter is sent by the CLO that contains the
latest pertinent information on housing, consumables, automobiles,
schools, health, pets, security, employment and other miscellaneous
Upon arrival, every newcomer has a social sponsor who works to
ensure that the newcomer’s house is ready, including placing basic
food supplies in the house in advance of arrival. The social sponsor
also ensures that newcomers are introduced to others and is
generally available to answer questions. A welcome book, which
covers a wide variety of topics on life in this community, is
provided upon arrival.
In addition, the CLO, in consultation with the employee’s agency,
will appoint an office sponsor to make proper introductions and
arrangements within the Mission for the newcomer. Within the first
10 days of arrival, the new employee (and all accompanying
dependents 16 years and older) receives a briefing regarding
security, medical facilities, and orientation briefing from each
agency. A post-language program is provided, but this is subject to
change, depending on funds allocated to the program. Foreign Service
Institute audiotapes and instruction books are available through the
CLO office for French and some other languages.
Notes For Travelers
Getting to the Post Last Updated: 2/11/2004 3:59 AM
Paris is the principal interchange point for travelers connecting
with flights to N’Djamena. Air France currently offers three flights
per week, between Paris and N’Djamena. Check with your
Transportation Office, or online with www.travelocity.com or other
online travel services to view possible itineraries.
Official travelers are met at the airport. Bring in your
accompanied baggage the things you will need right away. A generous
supply of passport-sized photographs is useful for local
formalities: ID cards, driver’s licenses, visas, etc. Such photos
are available here, but they are more expensive than in the U.S. The
Embassy GSO will provide a Welcome Kit that supplies basic cooking
and eating utensils as well as basic bed and bath linens.
When planning your Unaccompanied Baggage (UAB) and Household
Effects (HHE) shipments, please check the Department of State’s
publication It’s Your Move, available in the Overseas Briefing
Center, via the DoState opennet intranet, or the Department’s
Transportation Office. If you are posted overseas, your GSO and/or
CLO will also likely have copies available. This publication offers
a wealth of material and advice in deciding which items to pack.
Unaccompanied baggage (airfreight) may take several weeks to
arrive. Include clothing, linens, dishes, flatware, glassware,
kitchenware, toiletries, and cosmetics, small appliances such as an
iron, and any other household items, toys or school supplies, and
linens for queen- or twin-sized beds depending on your family
composition. A radio, CD or tape deck, hobby materials, and sports
equipment will help make your first days more pleasant.
When packing household effects, keep in mind that entertainment
in N’Djamena often centers on the home, and that many evening hours
may be spent in your own home or attending gatherings in other
homes. Bring an ample supply of books, video cassettes, compact
disks, dvds, games, hobby and craft supplies. Paintings,
knickknacks, favorite lamps, linens, toys and videos for children,
etc., will go far toward making you feel more at home. Due to
security considerations, avoid bringing irreplaceable items or those
of great personal value. Drugstore-variety citronella candles are
great for lighting patio or yard parties. Flashlights are handy
during power outages although all Embassy houses are equipped with
automatic generators so such situations rarely occur.
Most personnel are assigned to houses with gardens and many grow
flowers, trees and vegetables. Bring seeds and tools with you. Avid
gardeners should write ahead for more detailed information.
Shipment of Personal Goods and Private Vehicles
Airfreight shipments to N’Djamena should be addressed:
American Ambassador (your initials) American Embassy N'Djamena,
Republic of Chad
Surface shipments of household effects should be consigned to the
Embassy via the Department of State’s European Logistics and Supply
Office (ELSO) located in Antwerp, Belgium. Shipments are trucked to
Paris and then sent to post via air. As a result, sizes of shipping
crates should not exceed the size permissible on an Airbus A300
aircraft (maximum sizes: 200 cm x 210 cm x 150 cm). Larger lift vans
will be delayed in shipment pending assignment of a larger aircraft
on a cargo run due to cargo volume. Mark all boxes:
American Ambassador (owner’s initials) American Embassy
N’Djamena, Republic of Chad via ELSO, Antwerp, Belgium Intransit
Motor vehicles should be sent to the U.S. Embassy Branch Office
(EBO), Douala, Cameroon, where they will be forwarded to N’Djamena.
Make sure that your current post cables Embassy N’Djamena in
order to receive the latest shipping and consignment information
before your goods or vehicle are shipped.
Customs, Duties, and Passage
Customs and Duties Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:33 PM
The Ambassador can import duty-free items for personal or family
use. This privilege is extended within reason to all American staff
members and their eligible family members. Personal and household
effects are admitted duty free.
Administrative and technical staff members and their families are
exempt from customs duties and taxes on household and personal
effects shipped to post during the first 6 months after arrival. In
practice, the Government of Chad has not imposed duties on goods
imported by A&T staff members even after the 6-month period.
Due to the fact that the Government of Chad has no VAT
reimbursement system for exempt personnel, items purchased locally
such as food, clothing, etc., are subject to duty or taxes. Personal
goods, including automobiles, may be sold to other members of the
Mission or persons having duty-free-entry privileges, or may be
re-exported, without paying duty. Duty must be paid on personal
goods, including cars, sold to persons not entitled to duty-free
privileges; the diplomatic person is responsible for ensuring that
such duty is paid. Customs duties are high. No restrictions are
placed on the re-export of articles or belongings of staff members.
Passage Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:34 PM
Visas are required for all persons seeking to enter Chad.
Formerly, visas for Chad could be obtained from French embassies,
but this policy has been tightened, and visas must be obtained from
one of the 19 Chadian embassies. In emergencies, the Embassy can
request entry without visa, but this is not guaranteed and is not
encouraged. For a listing of countries with Chadian representation
from which you can obtain a visa, please contact the CLO or Human
Certificates of immunization against yellow fever and cholera are
required of all travelers. Local currency is not needed on arrival
at the airport if you are to be met. It can be obtained by changing
money or cashing a check on the first business day after arrival.
All personnel should maintain U.S. checking accounts (and bring a
large number of checks) to obtain exchange services from the Embassy
cashier and to pay suppliers, insurance firms, credit cards, etc.
Pets Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:34 PM
American carriers have recently begun imposing severe
restrictions on the transportation of pets to any destination
worldwide — particularly during the summer months. Please contact
the Briefing Center at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center
or your agency’s transportation office for the latest guidance. The
Embassy’s CLO can also be queried.
Pets may be brought into Chad if accompanied by a veterinarian’s
health certificate (dated within 48 hours of the pet’s travel) and a
documentation of anti-rabies dated at least 1 month (and no longer
than 1 year) before traveling. Dogs must also be vaccinated against
distemper and parvovirus. There is no quarantine in Chad.
Veterinary care in N’Djamena is limited. Although doctors of
veterinary medicine do exist, facilities are generally sparse and
poorly supplied. Pet owners are expected to bring supplies for even
minor procedures. As a result, you should bring with you any
vaccinations that may be required during your tour for all animals.
In addition, bring adequate supplies of such common items as flea
collars, soaps, medicines, treats, kitty litter, dog/cat food, etc.,
as supplies are unavailable locally.
Additional information can be obtained from the Community Liaison
Firearms and Ammunition Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:35 PM
U.S. Government employees and dependents may not import firearms
without the advance permission, in writing, of the Ambassador. Under
Chadian law, firearms can be legally imported after they have been
registered and a “permis de port d’armes” has been issued. If
intending to bring firearms of any kind into Chad, contact the
Embassy Administrative Officer to obtain specific instructions
before you import the weapon. A formal request addressed to the
Chief of Mission must be submitted in advance of the weapons’
arrival in Chad.
The Regional Security Office will provide assistance upon arrival
in the registration process. There are fees associated with the
registration of firearms that are the responsibility of the
Hunting licenses may be obtained for small or big game hunting.
The fees vary depending on the type and size of the animal.
Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures Last Updated:
12/8/2003 1:35 PM
The official currency unit of Chad is the franc Communauté
Financière Africaine, invariably called and written the “CFA.” The
value of the CFA is tied to the French franc, and now therefore also
to the Euro with one French franc equivalent to 100 CFA.
CFA and Euro bank accounts may be established at some local banks
without difficulty, but few Mission personnel have needed them. The
Embassy cashier provides currency “accommodation exchange” into CFA
and will accept U.S. Treasury checks or checks on personal U.S.
checking accounts. U.S. dollars are not accepted outside the banks
and usually are heavily discounted. Traveler’s checks are
recommended for travel outside the country.
Chad uses the metric system.
Taxes, Exchange, and Sale of Property Last Updated: 12/8/2003
The Chadian Government does not operate a system whereby taxes
paid on goods bought from local vendors are refunded. However, the
Embassy has obtained exemption on the payment of taxes for utilities
(including telephones) and offers gasoline for sale from the GSO
In accordance with 22 U.S.C. 4341- 4343, the Embassy does have an
administrative policy in place that governs the sale of personal
property by Embassy personnel while posted to N’Djamena. Please
contact the Administrative and/or Human Resources Office for further
Recommended Reading Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:36 PM
These titles are provided as a general indication of the material
published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse
Azevedo, Mario. Cameroon and Chad in Historical and Contemporary
Azevedo, Mario and Nnadozie, Emmanuel. Chad. Westview: 1998.
Azevedo, Mario J. and Nnadozie, Emmanuel. Chad: A Nation in
Search of Its Future. 1998.
Collins, Robert et al. Africa’s 30-Year War: Libya, Chad and the
Sudan 1963–93. 1999.
Decalo, Samuel. Historical Dictionary of Chad. 1997.
Donon, Marcel Bourdette. Tchad. Harmattan: 1998.
Ewing, Debra et al. Chad Country Review. 1999–2000.
Kelly, Robert et al. Chad Country Review. 1999–2000.
Nolutshungu, Sam C. Limits of Anarchy: Intervention and State
Formation in Chad. 1996.
Reyna, S.P. Wars Without End: The Political Economy of a
Precolonial African State. University Press of New England: 1990.
Ron‚, Beyem. Tchad: L’Ambivalence aulturelle et l’intégration
nationale. Harmattan: 2000.
Sevigny, J. Chad. 1995 (a country guide).
Tchad. Niger: Escroqueries a la démocratie. Harmattan.
Local Holidays Last Updated: 12/8/2003 1:37 PM
New Year’s Day Jan 1 Aid-Al-Adha Feb 23 Easter April 1 Easter
Monday April 2 Labor Day May 1 Maouloud-Al-Nebi May 24 Independence
Day Aug 11 All Saints’Day Nov 1 Republic Day Nov 28 Democracy Day
Dec 1 Aid-Al-Fitr Dec 4 Christmas Day Dec 25