Frequently Asked Questions DAKAR 2017
Things to bring in HHE
All of the post reports suggest shipping liquids, liquids, and more liquids. What high volume liquids do you recommend we put in our sea shipment (cooking oils, bleach, etc.)?
Bleach is available here, do not ship! What you need in quantities in your HHE is your favorite shampoos (probably not available here), ketchup (Heinz is available but more expensive; local ketchup is more like tomato sauce), yellow mustard, pickle relish, pancake or maple syrup, peanut butter, etc. If you are attached to a brand, bring it, especially if it is in a glass jar or bottle. Oil is 4,000 cfa $3 a liter (equivalent to a quart) at minimum for Senegalese brand. Olive oil is about 5,300 cfa ($9.50) a liter. Check the shelf date before you ship too much. You can typically find nonstick sprays (American foods store); especially good to know as your packers will likely not pack your aerosols. You can find most things here in the supermarkets or from online grocers; the problem you run into with online grocers is the liquid/packaging issue with pouch and having to factor in the shipping time. DPO has more flexibility for what can be shipped, but you still have the shipping time. Locally available cleaning supplies are acceptable, but if you have a brand you love, bring some with you.
Per the recently updated 6 FAH-5 H-513.2-2 Standard and Supplemental FAP Items, Washington will no longer allow posts to issue certain items now deemed to be the personal responsibility of the occupant. This means employees are now responsible for bringing or purchasing their own vacuum cleaners and garden and yard equipment (hose, sprinkler, trimmers,etc.).
Dakar is now a consumables post. The employee is responsible for purchasing and paying for the consumables. The U.S. Government is responsible for shipping them to your Post. To activate your benefit, each individual should contact his/her travel technician (or equivalent for non-State agencies). The consumables allowance should be authorized in their TMFOUR/home Agency travel authorization. For more information, please see the TM3 cable.
What would you recommend we pre-ship to ourselves (toilet paper, paper towels, linens, pet food, etc)?
It is becoming easier and easier to find American brands in Dakar. The supply is not consistent, but with patience, it can be found. That said, if there is an item/brand that you cannot live without, bring it. Most items you can find a similar version but it may be more expensive. It’s a good idea to pre-ship pet foods and (especially) litter and/or litter box. Your kitty will thank you for it. You can get pet supplies locally but they will not be the sort your pet (nor their tummy) is familiar with.
What restrictions are on DPO mail?
Please consider restrictions to USPS mail. No alcohol, items used to make or brew alcohol, firearms, explosives, pork products or other dangerous items may be shipped. If you have specific questions on what may be shipped to Dakar’s DPO, contact CLO, the Mailroom, or visit the following website:
Can you ship tobacco products into the country?
Via the DPO, yes. Check http://pouch.a.state.gov for pouch regulations.
What kind of car should I bring to post?
High clearance is a good suggestion, but not a requirement. If you wish to visit outside Dakar on a regular basis, a 4×4 might be a good investment. In Dakar, majority of the roads are paved, but many where we have residences are not, so having a vehicle with higher clearance is a good thing.
Can I ship my vehicle to Dakar which is older than 5 years and can I sell the car at the end of the tour?
The government of Senegal does not permit importation of POVs which are more than eight years old. However, a diplomat may import a car over eight years old provided the vehicle is shipped to the next post, back to the US when current tour is completed, or sold to another diplomat. The process for selling a vehicle at post must be initiated six months prior to departure (see below for more details). Vehicles with original tinted windows are allowed.
Mission personnel are permitted up to two duty-free vehicles (depending upon the number of drivers), which can either be purchased at or shipped to post. ‘Vehicles’ includes cars and motorcycles. Anything above two of the above, the Government of Senegal will assess full customs and duties charges. However, mission personnel must pay the shipping costs and related customs clearance fees for the second vehicle. The Government of Senegal considers a motorcycle or a boat engine as a mode of transportation. These are required to be registered and are counted the same as a POV.
In Dakar, it is possible to purchase both new and used vehicles. Used vehicles are often available from mission personnel and those in the extended expatriate community as they leave the country. The prices of these vehicles are often somewhat higher than similar vehicles sold in the U.S.
Mission personnel must register their vehicles with the Senegalese Government and pay a one-time fee of $20.00 for the license plate. Diplomatic personnel with two cars will receive green diplomatic plates for both cars. A local driver’s license is not required when you have a valid U.S. driver’s license. Local automobile liability insurance is required in Senegal. GSO motor pool helps you get a local insurance upon arrival (you usually arrive before your POV), it costs between $160-$200.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 service.
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 also not always available for foreign-made cars such as Honda, Toyota, and Mazda sold with U.S. specifications. Mission personnel often include car parts, such as spark plugs, points, rotors, condensers, electronic-ignition control units, fan belts, wiper blades, and oil and air filters, in their HHE shipments since these parts are not always readily available on the local market. Tires are available but are very expensive locally. You can get tires through DPO.
Selling your POV:
Employees should plan accordingly if their vehicle surpass eight (08) years of age at the end of their tour. Employees must either re-export their vehicle (into permanent storage or to their next post), or sell their vehicle to another diplomat who enjoys customs exemption status. Transferring titles takes several months and should be initiated as soon as an employee knows that he/she will leave the POV at post.
In order to sell a POV, all employees must complete the following steps:
Six months prior to departure from post, complete the “Application to Sell Property and Convert Proceeds” and submit it to the Management Office. This form is available on the Mission’s Intranet site.
After receiving approval from the Management Office, contact GSO/Motorpool at least 3 months prior to departure from post.
GSO/Motorpool will then contact the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) and formally request permission to sell your POV. Once the sale is approved, GSO/Motorpool will receive an official letter from the MFA.
If the buyer has duty-free status (e.g., a diplomat), GSO/Motorpool will finalize the paperwork once the seller notifies GSO/Motorpool that the POV was sold. Please note that if the POV is more than 5 years old, the vehicle may only be sold to a buyer who has duty-free status.
If the buyer does not have duty-free status (and the car is less than 5 years old), the seller must ensure that duties are paid and customs formalities are completed. The buyer must give the seller and GSO/Motorpool a letter confirming that the applicable customs duties were paid in full. GSO/Motorpool will then help complete the final paperwork.
How much does an oil change cost? It was advised we bring motor oil filters and wiper, should motor oil be included?
It is cheaper to bring motor oil whether or not you will change it yourself. The garages are not that expensive so having an oil change is very reasonable. Other spare parts for your car can be ordered online or brought with you to post.
Do I have to take my catalytic converter out of my car before I arrive on post?
No, you can find unleaded gasoline in Dakar. (called ‘super’)
Do you have cell phones and if so, what do you use and who do you buy your coverage through? Approximate monthly cost? And internet is there a local company you get internet through? Is it fast and reliable? Monthly cost?
Officers have an official phone/Blackberry with Tigo. EFMs can buy an Orange (Sonatel) SIM card for 5,000 cfa (about $10) to get a number and then cards of 1,000 to 10,000 CFA ($2-$20) to use for minutes (both for phone and data usage). It’s a good idea to wait for one of frequent promotions to buy these, you will get 50-100% more time. There are other providers as well, but Orange tends to have the best coverage and most consistent service.
We cannot use Expresso as it is a Sudanese company (embargo).
You need a tri-band phone to use the same in Senegal and in the US. You can buy unlocked iPhones here that are not linked to a provider. Alternatively, bring an unlocked phone from the US, and it will work well (and cost a LOT less).
Is High Speed internet available?
Yes. Faster connection + home phone = about $150 a month; every residence has landline phone. For long distance calls most families use Skype, Vonage or Magic Jack services.
What are the basic costs for AFN? Are there restrictions for placing the dish on the buildings?
iDEA, the Employee Association, rents AFN boxes for $200 for the duration of your tour. There is a refundable $100 deposit, returned when the decoder is returned. It is up to the renter to set up the satellite connection. Dish and installation cost around $300, but the dish is yours to keep or sell to the next person living in your house. If you will be living in a house, check to see if the current tenant has a dish already installed which you can buy from them. If you are in an apartment, you can share the cost of the dish with your neighbors and split the signal. There may already be a dish on your roof. Check with GSO Housing to confirm.
In addition, there are local Cable providers to choose from with English and French speaking channels. It cost $50+ a month. There’s also Sling Box –see their website regarding information at: http://www.slingbox.com/
Clubs, Pools and Beaches
There are many great options for enjoying the beaches and pools in Dakar. Prices range from 5,000 CFA+ ($6- $20 per person) depending if it is a private hotel beach/pool or part of a restaurant.
Additionally, the embassy has a pool available for those who are members of iDEA.
What kind of stores are available in Dakar?
There is a mall, Sea Plaza, which has L’Occitane, Mango, United Colors of Benetton, Aldo Shoes and more stores. There are a number of specialty stores like Orca that has house wares, furniture and toys. It is limited and some items can be expensive but you can also have quite a few things made custom and of course, there’s online shopping.
More and more, you can find most items you would be looking for in Dakar. The only question is how much you want to pay for it, as everything is imported, and therefore has the imported price tag. That said, there is a growing selection of clothing, toy, decorations, gift and luxury shops in Dakar. If you need something urgently, you can probably find options. If you can wait, it might be best to buy it online and wait for it to arrive.