Gregory Warner

Gregory Warner is NPR's East Africa Correspondent. His reports cover the diverse issues and voices of a region that is experiencing unparalleled economic growth as well as a rising threat of global terrorism. His coverage can be heard across NPR and NPR.org.

Before joining NPR, Warner was a senior reporter for American Public Media's Marketplace, where he endeavored to make the economics of American health care vivid and engaging. He's used puppets to illustrate the effects of Internet diagnoses on the doctor-patient relationship. He composed a Suessian cartoon to explain why health care job growth policies can increase the national debt. His musical journey into the shadow world of medical coding won the 2012 Best News Feature award from the Third Coast International Audio Festival.

Prior to Marketplace, Warner was a freelance radio producer reporting from conflict zones around the world. He climbed mountains with smugglers in Pakistan for This American Life, descended into illegal mineshafts in the Democratic Republic of Congo for Marketplace's "Working" series, and lugged his accordion across Afghanistan on the trail of the "Afghan Elvis" for NPR's Radiolab.

Warner's radio and multimedia work has won awards from Edward R Murrow, New York Festivals, AP, PRNDI, and a Sigma Delta Chi award from the Society of Professional Journalists. He has twice won Best News Feature from the Third Coast International Audio Festival in 2009 and 2012.

Warner earned his degree in English at Yale University. He is conversant in Arabic.

Nelson Mandela is officially "improving," though still in critical condition at a South African hospital. His long battle with a lung infection has South Africans anxiously contemplating their "post-Mandela" future in a still racially divided country. In a unique strategy, one man is hoping to help heal those divisions with a pair of barbecue tongs.

Jan Scannell is a 32-year-old former accountant with a dream: To establish a national holiday in South Africa like July 4 called Braai Day.

Earlier this summer in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, I heard a complaint from many professionals that they could no longer find cheap house cleaners and nannies.

The apparently endless supply of girls and young women from the countryside who would work for peanuts just for a chance to move to the capital was drying up. It turns out more and more of them are finding work on one of the city's many construction sites.

As we reported during Coffee Week in April, coffee aficionados pay top dollar for single-origin roasts.

The professional prospectors working for specialty coffee companies will travel far and wide, Marco Polo-style, to discover that next champion bean.

If you were to do a search for the Nairobi city slum of Mathare on Google Maps, you'd find little more than gray spaces between unmarked roads.

A 60-year-old wound in Kenya has finally found its recompense.

Last week, the British government finalized an out-of-court settlement with thousands of Kenyans who were tortured in detention camps during the end of the British colonial reign. The historic apology — and the unprecedented settlement — has been years in the making.

Shabelle Media is Somalia's largest news outlet — and a very dangerous place to work. Of the 12 journalists gunned down in the country last year, four were reporting for Shabelle.

A number of the reporters are teenagers, some as young as 15. The reporters almost never venture out of the office, which is outfitted with sleeping quarters and a kitchen.

Why are Shabelle's young journalists being targeted more than others?

You're out navigating the jammed sidewalks of Kenya's capital city when you suddenly realize you're in desperate need of a toilet. You crane your neck over the crowds, vainly seeking a McDonalds, a Starbucks — no such luck. What next?

There could be an app for that. Twendeloo, which is Swahili for "Let's Go to the Loo," would allow you to use your phone to locate the nearest public restroom in Nairobi's business district, then give it a rating for cleanliness.

Eritrea's human rights record has long faced international criticism. Located in the Horn of Africa, the country is home to five million people, but so closed to the outside world that individual stories tend to come almost exclusively from those who have fled.

When Duan Biggs was growing up in the Kruger National Park in South Africa, he used to watch elephants and rhinos walking past his bedroom window. He left home to pursue degrees in biology and economics, and when he returned in 2011 the park looked and sounded "like a pseudo war zone," he says.

"There'd be helicopters flying overhead all the time," he says. "I remember one afternoon coming back to my home from a game drive and the bush was crawling with people with assault rifles, from the army, from the police, and from National Parks. They were looking for poachers."

It says a lot about the state of the war against poachers in Africa that the Lewa Conservancy, a private sanctuary in Kenya with 12 percent of the country's rhinos, recently appointed a CEO who has never studied zoology or biology. Instead, Mike Watson is an ex-captain in the British army.

His training has already come in handy. Take, for instance, a visit to a crime scene earlier this year: a rhino carcass splayed out in the mud.

Imagine you're flying in a two-seater plane over Africa, and, in an effort to see how elephants are faring, your job is to count all the ones you see. Over the savannah, that's easy. But how do you peer into the forests, where all you see is treetops?

For years, the zoologists who tried to do this just guessed. But in the late 1980s, conservationist Richard Barnes devised a method to take an elephant census in the densest of forests.

Tucked in the northeast corner of Africa, Eritrea is one of the most closed societies in the world, so much so that it's sometimes dubbed the "North Korea of Africa."

President Isaias Afwerki does not tolerate any independent media. The Internet is restricted. Reporters without Borders recently named it 179th out of 179 countries for freedom of expression.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

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From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.

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For the past six years in Somalia, Western countries have been putting up the cash and African nations have been supplying the soldiers, a formula that has pushed back al-Qaida-linked militants and allowed Somalia to elect it's first democratic government in 20 years.

"We can fix our problems in Africa," says Brig. Michael Ondoga, a contingent commander with the African Union Mission in Somalia or AMISOM. "All we need is your support."

It's not at all hard to see why this plan is so agreeable to the American government.

Bosco Ntaganda, the Congolese warlord and rebel leader wanted by the International Criminal Court, showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on Monday in a taxicab. He was apparently unexpected.

"We did not have any prior notice or consultations with him to indicate that he would do that," State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Tuesday. "He was a walk-in, in the truest sense of the word."

She said the U.S. is now "working to facilitate his request" to be transported to the Netherlands to stand trial.

It was supposed to be the most modern election in African history. Biometric identification kits with electronic thumb pads, registration rolls on laptops at every polling station, and an SMS-relayed, real-time transmission of the results to the National Tallying Center in Nairobi.

Ambitious? Of course. Only 23 percent of the country has access to electricity.

In Kenya, colorblindness may be contributing to more than just questionable sartorial combinations. Some observers say it may have something to do with the hundreds of thousands of spoiled ballots — a term for disqualified or invalidated votes — in Monday's presidential election, adding new delays to declaring a winner and raising the possibility of a costly and contentious runoff election in April.

As Kenya prepares for a presidential election next Monday, it's trying to prevent a recurrence of the last such poll, in December 2007, when more than 1,000 people were killed in postelection violence.

Last time, technology helped incite that violence. This time, the hope is that technology will help prevent a similar outburst.

Last time around, a text message came on Dec. 31, 2007, four days after a presidential election that many people in the Kalenjin tribe thought was rigged.

U.S. counterterrorism efforts include choking off the flow of cash to extremists, and urging friendly countries to help. But in Nairobi, Kenya, suspicion of Somali money — and an increase in terrorist attacks — has prompted a country-wide crackdown, with Kenyan police accused of extortion and arbitrary arrests of thousands of Somali refugees.

But how do you tell the difference between tainted money and honest cash?

Take Eastleigh, a neighborhood in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

Kenya's peace train is ready to roll.

Kenyan graffiti artists received permission from the Rift Valley Railway to spray-paint a 10-car commuter train with peace messages and icons. It may be the first train in Africa with officially authorized graffiti.

The train will travel through the massive Nairobi slum of Kibera, one of the largest in Africa, where young gangs torched, looted and killed in the spasms of violence that followed the 2007 Kenyan presidential election.

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