wikileaks ico  Home papers ico  Cables mirror and Afghan War Diary privacy policy Privacy
Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
08LILONGWE497
2008-08-21 14:02:00
UNCLASSIFIED
Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR PEPFAR STRATEGIC INFORMATION REGIONAL

Tags:   AMGT  EAID  KHIV  SOCI  MI 
pdf how-to read a cable
VZCZCXRO5919
RR RUEHJO RUEHMR
DE RUEHLG #0497/01 2341402
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 211402Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY LILONGWE
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 5467
RUEHSB/AMEMBASSY HARARE 1507
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 2724
RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 1453
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 0251
RUEHDR/AMEMBASSY DAR ES SALAAM 6721
RUEHKM/AMEMBASSY KAMPALA 0245
RUEHLS/AMEMBASSY LUSAKA 4195
RUEHKI/AMEMBASSY KINSHASA 0051
RUEHMB/AMEMBASSY MBABANE 0279
RUEHOR/AMEMBASSY GABORONE 0776
RUEHAB/AMEMBASSY ABIDJAN 0020
RUEHDS/AMEMBASSY ADDIS ABABA 0990
RUEHGE/AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN 0008
RUEHPU/AMEMBASSY PORT AU PRINCE 0009
RUEHNR/AMEMBASSY NAIROBI 2583
RUEHDG/AMEMBASSY SANTO DOMINGO 0003
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 6430
RUEHWD/AMEMBASSY WINDHOEK 0403
RUEHLGB/AMEMBASSY KIGALI 0008
RUEHDK/AMEMBASSY DAKAR 0143
RUEHMR/AMEMBASSY MASERU 0049
RUEHNM/AMEMBASSY NIAMEY 0218
						UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LILONGWE 000497 

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/EX - STEVE TOY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT EAID KHIV SOCI MI
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR PEPFAR STRATEGIC INFORMATION REGIONAL
MEETING WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN SEPTEMBER IN LILONGWE, MALAWI.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LILONGWE 000497

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR AF/EX - STEVE TOY

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: AMGT EAID KHIV SOCI MI
SUBJECT: COUNTRY CLEARANCE FOR PEPFAR STRATEGIC INFORMATION REGIONAL
MEETING WHICH WILL TAKE PLACE IN SEPTEMBER IN LILONGWE, MALAWI.


1. THE U.S. EMBASSY LILONGWE WELCOMES AND GRANTS COUNTRY CLEARANCE
TO ALL REGISTERED USG PARTICIPANTS TO THE 2008 SI REGIONAL MEETING
FROM SEPTEMBER 15 - 17, 2008.


2. PARTICIPANTS ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR REGISTERING AND ARRANGING THEIR
OWN LODGING THROUGH THE MEETING ORGANIZER
(PSMITH@AIMGLOBALHEALTH.ORG). AIRPORT TRANSFERS WILL NOT BE PROVIDED
BY THE MEETING ORGANIZERS.


3. THE EMBASSY IS NOT PROVIDING ANY LOGISTICAL SUPPORT FOR MEETING
PARTICIPANTS.


4. VISAS:
U.S. CITIZENS TRAVELING TO MALAWI FOR TOURISM, TRANSIT OR BUSINESS
FOR 30 DAYS OR LESS CAN OBTAIN A VISA AT THE AIRPORT OR BORDER
POINTS OF ENTRY AT NO COST.


5. AIRPORT DEPARTURE TAX
REGARDLESS OF DIPLOMATIC OR OTHER OFFICIAL STATUS, ALL
DEPARTING AIR TRAVELERS ARE SUBJECT TO AN AIRPORT DEPARTURE
TAX OF THIRTY U.S. DOLLARS, WHICH MUST BE PAID IN U.S.
DOLLARS (TODAY'S EXCHANGE RATE IS USD 1.00 TO 142.00 MALAWI
KWACHA.)


6. FOREIGN EXCHANGE
BANKING SERVICES ARE VERY LIMITED THROUGHOUT MALAWI AND THERE ARE NO
ATM MACHINES. FURTHER, THE COUNTRY IS EXPERIENCING A SHORTAGE OF
HARD CURRENCY AND IT IS PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT TO OBTAIN U.S.
DOLLARS EVEN VIA ACCOMMODATION EXCHANGES WITH THE EMBASSY CASHIER.
WHEREAS THE EMBASSY CASHIER WILL CASH TRAVELER'S CHECKS (USUALLY FOR
MALAWI KWACHA ONLY) AT THE CURRENT EXCHANGE RATE POSTED BY
RAMC-PARIS, THE LOCAL MONEY CHANGERS NORMALLY CHARGE A 10% FEE. FOR
ALL OF THESE REASONS, TRAVELERS ARE ADVISED TO CONSIDER BRINGING A
SMALL (WHATEVER IS REASONABLE) AMOUNT OF U.S. DOLLARS IF THEY ARE
PLANNING ANY PERSONAL IN-COUNTRY TRAVEL.


7. CELLULAR TELEPHONES
CELLULAR TELEPHONES ARE AVAILABLE FOR RENT AT THE AIRPORT FOR
TRAVELERS REQUIRING SUCH CAPABILITY. THE COST IS
APPROXIMATELY $2.50 PER DAY PLUS A REFUNDABLE DEPOSIT OF
$200. CALLING CARDS MAY BE PURCHASED IN DENOMINATIONS OF
$10, $20, AND $50.


8. CLIMATE
MALAWI'S CLIMATE IS GENERALLY SUBTROPICAL. THERE IS LITTLE
TO NO RAINFALL THROUGHOUT MOST OF THE COUNTRY FROM MAY TO
OCTOBER. IT IS HOT AND HUMID FROM OCTOBER TO APRIL ALONG THE LAKE

AND IN THE LOWER SHIRE VALLEY. LILONGWE IS ALSO HOT AND HUMID DURING
THESE MONTHS, ALBEIT FAR LESS THAN IN THE SOUTH. THE REST OF THE
COUNTRY IS WARM DURING THOSE MONTHS. FROM JUNE THROUGH AUGUST, THE
LAKE AREAS AND FAR SOUTH ARE COMFORTABLY WARM, BUT THE REST OF
MALAWI CAN BE CHILLY AT NIGHT, WITH TEMPERATURES RANGING FROM
5O-14OC (41O-57OF).


9. WHAT TO WEAR
VISITORS ARE PARTICULARLY REQUESTED TO OBSERVE LOCAL DRESS
CUSTOMS, WHICH USED TO STRONGLY EMPHASIZE MODESTY UNDER THE
FORMER PRESIDENT. WHILE ATTITUDES AND CUSTOMS HAVE CHANGED,
SO THAT WEARING TROUSERS FOR WOMEN AND SHORTS FOR BOTH MEN
AND WOMEN IS ACCEPTABLE IN URBAN AND TOURIST AREAS, IN
VILLAGES IT IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR WOMEN TO APPEAR WITHOUT
WEARING A SKIRT OR LONG DRESS. THIS CAN BE ACCOMPLISHED
EASILY BY TYING A WRAP AROUND THE WAIST, LOCALLY CALLED
CHITENJES OR KHANGAS AND AVAILABLE INEXPENSIVELY IN MARKETS. THE
WRAP CAN BE WORN OVER TROUSERS OR SHORTS. IT IS WELL TO REMEMBER
THAT MALAWIAN'S ARE VERY CONVENTIONAL, EVEN CONSERVATIVE, PEOPLE,

LILONGWE 00000497 002 OF 003


AND TO RESPECT LOCAL CUSTOMS AND
TRADITIONS WHEN VISITING VILLAGES AND MARKETS. THE OLDER
GENERATION AND PARTICULARLY IN THE RURAL AREAS, EXPECT TO SEE
VISITORS DRESSED CONSERVATIVELY; RESPECT ALWAYS WORKS.


10. EXCESS BAGGAGE
OFFICIALS AT LILONGWE INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT CAN BE VERY
STRICT CONCERNING EXCESS BAGGAGE; AND BECAUSE FEES FOR EXCESS
BAGGAGE ARE NOT POSTED, TRAVELERS RUN THE RISK OF INCURRING
EXCESSIVE CHARGES. THEREFORE, WHEN APPROPRIATE FOR REASONS OF
OFFICIAL BUSINESS, POST RECOMMENDS THAT VISITORS HAVE AN EXCESS
BAGGAGE ALLOWANCE ADDED TO THEIR TICKETS AT THE TIME OF PURCHASE.


11. FLIGHT RECONFIRMATION
BECAUSE FLIGHTS FROM LILONGWE ARE FREQUENTLY OVERBOOKED,
TRAVELERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO VISIT THE EMBASSY'S TRAVEL
SECTION EARLY IN THEIR VISIT IN ORDER TO RECONFIRM ONWARD
TRAVEL.


12. HEALTH
TRAVELERS TO MALAWI SHOULD CHECK WITH THEIR AGENCY'S MEDICAL UNIT
SEVERAL WEEKS BEFORE ARRIVAL IN LILONGWE TO RECEIVE RECOMMENDED
IMMUNIZATIONS AND TO BEGIN MALARIA PROPHYLAXIS (MALARIA IS A
SIGNIFICANT HEALTH PROBLEM IN MALAWI).
OFFICIAL TRAVELERS SHOULD CONSULT WITH STATE M/MED. THE CENTERS FOR
DISEASE CONTROL (CDC) RECOMMENDS YELLOW FEVER VACCINE FOR ALL
TRAVELERS COMING FROM ANY COUNTRY SINCE MALAWI IS CONSIDERED AN
INFECTED COUNTRY. TAP WATER IS NOT POTABLE; HOWEVER, BOTTLED WATER
AND OTHER SEALED BEVERAGES ARE SAFE AND READILY AVAILABLE.
EMPLOYEES,INCLUDING MEMBERS OF THE CIVIL SERVICE, WHOSE AGENCIES
PARTICIPATE IN THE MEDICAL PROGRAM AND WHO ARE SERVING ON TEMPORARY
DUTY (TDY)ABROAD ARE ELIGIBLE FOR MEDICAL BENEFITS, INCLUDING HEALTH
UNITACCESS, UNDER THIS PROGRAM AS DESCRIBED IN 16 FAM 111 AND 16
FAM

510. THE FOLLOWING CONDITIONS APPLY:

- CIVIL SERVICE EMPLOYEES, INCLUDING EMPLOYEES SERVING IN A "WHEN
ACTUALLY EMPLOYED" (WAE) STATUS, WHO ARE EXPECTED TO BE STATIONED OR
ASSIGNED ABROAD ON A TEMPORARY DUTY (TDY) IN EXCESS OF 60 DAYS PER
FISCAL YEAR, MUST OBTAIN A MEDICAL CLEARANCE;

- DEPENDENTS TRAVELING WITH THE TDY EMPLOYEE ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR
THE COVERAGE UNDER THE MEDICAL AND HEALTH PROGRAM; AND

- THE UNUSED PORTION OF THE RETURN AIRFARE OF THE PREVIOUSLY FUNDED
TRAVEL SHOULD BE APPLIED TO MEDICAL EVACUATION COSTS WHEN POSSIBLE.

HIV/AIDS IS PREVALENT IN MALAWI AND VISITORS SHOULD EXERCISE EXTREME
CAUTION AT ALL TIMES TO AVOID CONTACT THAT MIGHT RESULT IN HIV/AIDS
TRANSMISSION.

A YELLOW FEVER VACCINATION RECEIVED WITHIN THE LAST TEN YEARS AND
EVIDENCED WITH A WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION INTERNATIONAL CERTIFICATE
OF VACCINATIONS IS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO
MALAWI.


13. SECURITY
DURING YOUR VISIT TO MALAWI, YOU SHOULD USE THE SAME SECURITY
PRECAUTIONS YOU WOULD EXERCISE IN ANY URBAN AREA OF THE DEVELOPING
WORLD. CARJACKING AND ROBBERIES OCCUR THROUGHOUT MALAWI AND ALL
VISITORS SHOULD USE CAUTION. YOU SHOULD NOT CARRY PERSONAL
VALUABLES OR LARGE AMOUNTS OF CURRENCY WHEN VISITING THE DOWNTOWN
AREAS OF LILONGWE OR BLANTYRE. WE RECOMMEND THAT YOU NOT VENTURE
OUT ALONE AT NIGHT. GIVEN THE HIGH RATE OF VEHICULAR ACCIDENTS, USE
OF USG VEHICLES OUTSIDE
URBAN AREAS AFTER DARK ARE PROHIBITED AND THE MISSION STRONGLY

LILONGWE 00000497 003 OF 003


DISCOURAGES INDIVIDUALS FROM DRIVING THEIR PRIVATE VEHICLES OUTSIDE
URBAN AREAS AFTER DARK.


14. THREAT ASSESSMENT
MALAWI IS RATED CRITICAL FOR CRIME. POROUS BORDERS, EASILY
ACQUIRED SMALL ARMS, AND AN UNDER-RESOURCED POLICE SERVICE
PROVIDE AN EASY ENVIRONMENT FOR CRIMINALS. BESIDES PETTY
THEFTS, THE MAJORITY OF REPORTED CRIMES ARE CAR-JACKING AND
BURGLARIES. EVEN THOUGH THERE ARE NO KNOWN TERRORIST
ORGANIZATIONS OPERATING IN MALAWI, THE CONDITIONS NOTED ABOVE ALSO
ALLOW FOR A POSSIBLE, UNDETECTED TERRORIST PRESENCE. THE CURRENT
GOVERNMENT WAS DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED IN 1994, THEN RE-ELECTED IN

1999. MALAWI CURRENTLY ENJOYS POLITICAL STABILITY WITH FEW
INSTANCES OF CIVIL UNREST OR PUBLIC DEMONSTRATIONS.


15. TRAVEL
MALAWI IS A LONG AND NARROW COUNTRY, COVERING MORE THAN 1000 KM FROM
NORTH TO SOUTH. THE GEOGRAPHY IS DOMINATED BY THE TRANQUIL WATERS
OF LAKE MALAWI, NEARLY 600KM LONG AND UP TO 80KM WIDE, BORDERING THE
EAST OF THE COUNTRY. IT IS THE GREATEST ATTRACTION FOR VISITORS TO
THIS PEACEFUL PLACE WELL KNOWN FOR ITS FRIENDLY PEOPLE, GOLDEN
SHORES, AND STUNNING NATURAL SCENERY. MALAWI ALSO HAS ELEVEN
NATIONAL PARKS AND GAME RESERVES WHERE EVERYTHING FROM ELEPHANTS TO
ORCHIDS IS PROTECTED. THE THREE NATIONAL PARKS OF LENGWE, LIWONDE,
AND LAKE MALAWI NATIONAL PARK ARE LOCATED IN THE SOUTH; KASUNGU
NATIONAL PARK IS IN THE CENTRAL REGION; AND NYIKA NATIONAL PARK IS
IN THE NORTH. ADDITIONALLY, GAME RESERVES ARE ACCESSIBLE FROM ALL
PARTS OF THE COUNTRY.


16. TAKULANDIRANI/MWALANDILIDWA! WELCOME TO MALAWI, THE WARM HEART
OF AFRICA.

SULLIVAN