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Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is an award-winning broadcaster from Ghana and is NPR's Africa Correspondent. She describes herself as a "jobbing journalist"—who's often on the hoof, reporting from somewhere.

She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain, and Kenya, and has lived and worked in Europe, the US, and all over Africa—most recently based in Senegal, traveling across the continent as a journalist, commentator, host, and media trainer.

After completing high school in Britain, she earned a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and studied broadcast journalism at the University of Westminster, London.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC reporter reserve in 1985, working at regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London. There, she served as a producer, reporter, editor, and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported across the continent.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), mainly working with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter, and editor and in Monito, providing programs and content in French for radio stations in francophone Africa.

In 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents' posts, moving to Abidjan, the commercial hub of Ivory Coast, to head the corporation's West Africa bureau. From there, she covered 24 countries, straddling the Sahara to the heart of the continent—crisscrossing Africa from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Mali, to then Zaire (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea, and Cameroon. She contributed to BBC outlets, covering the flowering of democracy in the region, as well as the outbreak of civil wars, revolutions and coups, while always keeping an eye on the "other" stories about Africa that receive minimal media attention—including the continent's rich cultural heritage. Quist-Arcton also contributed to NPR programs during her reporting assignment in west and central Africa.

After four years as the BBC's West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994 as a host and senior producer on the flagship World Service programs, Newshour & Newsday, and as a contributing regional specialist for other broadcast outputs including BBC Africa.

Quist-Arcton laced up her traveling shoes again in 1995 and relocated to Boston as a roving reporter for The World, a co-production between the BBC, Public Radio International (PRI), and WGBH. She lived in Cambridge and enjoyed getting to know Massachusetts and the rest of New England, learning a new language during winter (most of it related to snow).

For The World, she traveled around the United States, providing the program with an African journalist's perspective on North American life. In 1997, she spent six months as a roving Africa reporter for The World, covering—among other events—the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko of Zaire.

In 1998, after a stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of another BBC co-production—this time in Johannesburg, with the South African Broadcasting Corporation on the flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa Correspondent and Bureau Chief, covering the continent's top stories, in all domains, and developing new radio shows for webcast and syndication to radio stations around the continent.

After six years in South Africa, Quist-Arcton joined NPR in 2004 heading the network's second Africa-based bureau and moving back to her home region of West Africa, this time to Senegal.

Quist-Arcton has spent the past 14 years reporting on the continent for NPR, covering a wealth of stories from the last years and funeral of Nelson Mandela and the funeral of his former wife, Winnie Madikizela Mandela, to the outbreak of Ebola in three West African nations and floating along the Congo River. She has received awards along the way including a Peabody and an Edward R. Murrow.

Quist-Arcton says sharing Africa's stories—good, great, creative, inspiring, humorous, bad, and ugly—is a privilege and an honor from a continent and peoples she admires and who have much to offer the world.

She also loves to engage with NPR's audience, especially youth and women, about Africa and how rich and varied the continent is.

Her passions are story-telling, African art, craft, culture, traditions, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques, and learning about the cultures and languages of the world. Quist-Arcton enjoys traveling (though not airports!) and meeting new people and renewing established acquaintances, while making fresh discoveries and delving into adventures. She also enjoys cycling, swimming, and photography.

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The city of Timbuktu is free...

UNIDENTIFIED GROUP: Mali, Mali, Mali, Mali...

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The French-led operation in Mali, which is intended to drive back Islamist militants, appears to be gaining momentum. The U.S. and European powers are helping airlift French forces into the Sahara nation, and African soldiers from around the region are arriving to lend a hand.

In the past week, French airstrikes and ground troops have helped government forces retake the strategic town of Diabaly in central Mali — the first major victory in the fight to reclaim the north.

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In Ethiopia, the donkey is more than just a beast of burden.

The Horn of Africa nation is home to more than 6 million donkeys and comes second only to China in global donkey numbers. The country is both donkey heaven and donkey hell, but though the animal is highly prized, it can also be mistreated.

"In Ethiopia, there's a good saying: 'A farmer without a donkey is a donkey himself,' " says Bojia Endebu, a veterinary surgeon and seasoned donkey doctor. "Because the donkey does lots of work, so they are very valuable for Ethiopian farmers."

Voting for a new president and parliament in Ghana has been extended into a second day in some areas due to glitches with the new biometric voter verification system.

Ghana, which began pumping crude oil in 2010 and is also a major cocoa and gold exporter, has gained an enviable reputation in its often-turbulent West African neighborhood. It's admired for being a relative oasis of stability and peace in the region — despite tensions in the build-up to the vote.

A Peaceful Democracy

Public transit in South Africa can be a bit of a nightmare. Many South Africans have had to depend on the ubiquitous taxivans, which are often overcrowded, dirty and driven recklessly.

But the continent's first rapid rail service, built to ease traffic congestion in South Africa's economic heart, is changing that.

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In South Africa, striking mineworkers are still locked in a deadly dispute over pay.

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Mali is a country rich in culture, both old and new.

The banging of hammers on silver echos through the main crafts market in Bamako, Mali's capital. It's usually teeming in a place where you can buy anything, from silver earrings to batik fabric, all of it handmade.

And despite its remote location, Mali has enhanced its cultural reputation in recent years with an annual international music and arts festival in the Sahara Desert near Timbuktu, drawing both African and Western artists.

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