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.

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Africa
3:45 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Attack In Nairobi Turns Mall Into A Battlefield

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 6:09 pm

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Arun Rath.

An upscale mall in Nairobi turned into a battleground today when armed gunmen stormed into the mall in the busy lunchtime hour. The Kenyan president says more than 30 people have been killed, many more injured, including some of his own relatives.

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Africa
12:45 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

What A Chatty Monkey May Tell Us About Learning To Talk

The gelada monkey, found only in the highlands of Ethiopia, is known as the bleeding heart baboon for the splash of red on its chest. Males of the species have a remarkable vocal agility greater than that of any nonhuman primate.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 12:04 am

The gelada monkey, also known as the bleeding heart baboon, makes a gurgling noise or wobble sound that scientists say is close to human speech — at least in how much facial coordination it requires.

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The Salt
3:26 pm
Mon August 26, 2013

'Braai Day' Aims To Bring S. Africans Together Over Barbecue

Jan Scannell, former accountant, has taken on a new identity as "Jan Braai," a South African TV show host and media personality promoting the idea of National Braai (barbecuing) Day, celebrated each year on Sept. 24.
Courtesy of Stephanus Rabie

Originally published on Tue August 27, 2013 3:30 pm

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.

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Africa
2:31 pm
Wed August 7, 2013

Embassy Attacks In Africa Permanently Changed U.S. Diplomacy

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 3:48 pm

Fifteen years ago, al-Qaida militants bombed U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. The anniversary comes days after the U.S. government shut down diplomatic missions in various nations as part of a heightened security alert. The missions in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam remain open but a fire at Kenya's international airport heightened concerns over renewed attacks.

Africa
2:21 am
Wed August 7, 2013

For Ethiopian Women, Construction Jobs Offer A Better Life

Mekedes Getachew, 19, has been working at construction sites in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, since she was 15 years old. Except for the heaviest lifting, she says, the laborers "all do the same work and we don't really say this is a man's job, but when it comes to salary there's a difference." She earns $1.50 a day. Men earn $2.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Wed August 7, 2013 5:32 pm

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.

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The Salt
12:38 pm
Mon July 22, 2013

How An Ethiopian Bean Became The Cinderella Of Coffee

Haleuya Habagaro says she always knew her coffee was exquisite. "When I roast the coffee, people come to ask where that strong fruity smell is coming from."
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Wed July 24, 2013 11:17 am

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.

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Crime In The City
1:28 am
Mon July 22, 2013

In Nairobi, A Maasai Detective Pursues Elusive Justice

Crompton's novel begins in Nairobi's Uhuru Park.
Sayyid Azim AP

Originally published on Mon July 22, 2013 7:48 am

If not for his earlobes, Detective Mollel would cut a classic figure of the crime fiction genre: moody, obsessive and a widower estranged from his son. But Mollel is a Kenyan from the Maasai tribe and the flesh of his earlobes is long and looped, stretched since childhood to hang below his jawline.

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Parallels
12:59 am
Wed July 17, 2013

In Kenya, Using Tech To Put An 'Invisible' Slum On The Map

The Mathare Valley, shown here in an aerial map, is one of the largest and oldest slums in Nairobi, Kenya. Residents are using hand-held GPS devices to map the area, which comprises 13 villages and is home to nearly 200,000 people.
Courtesy of Muungano Support Trust and Jason Corburn, UC Berkeley

Originally published on Wed July 17, 2013 6:56 pm

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.

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Africa
3:43 am
Thu July 11, 2013

50 Years Ago, Raid Seals Mandela's Fate And His Fame

Originally published on Thu July 18, 2013 2:52 pm

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene. Good morning.

Nelson Mandela continues to lie very ill in a Pretoria hospital, though it is now said he's responding to treatment.

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Parallels
12:29 pm
Mon July 1, 2013

To The Dismay Of Kenyans, President Obama Will Just Fly By

When Barack Obama was a U.S. senator in 2006, he visited Kenya, the homeland of his father. He's shown here planting a tree with Wangari Maathai, a Kenyan who won the Nobel Peace Prize. He is not stopping in Kenya on his current African tour, however, a decision that has upset many Kenyans.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

President Obama arrived in Tanzania on Monday, and that's the closest he'll get to his father's homeland on his African tour, a decision that has upset many Kenyans.

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Africa
2:17 pm
Fri June 28, 2013

Mandela Remains Hospitalized As Obama Lands In South Africa

Originally published on Fri June 28, 2013 7:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish.

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News
2:19 pm
Sun June 9, 2013

Britain Apologizes For Colonial-Era Torture Of Kenyan Rebels

Mau Mau leader Gitu wa Kahengeri, right, poses with British High Commissioner to Kenya Christian Turner at the end of a news conference announcing the settlement last week.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Sun June 9, 2013 4:36 pm

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.

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Parallels
1:31 am
Mon June 3, 2013

For Young Somali Journalists, Work Often Turns Deadly

Reporter Donna Ali, 18, awaits her turn to go on air. Shabelle hires reporters as young as 15.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 7:05 pm

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?

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Africa
2:43 am
Mon May 27, 2013

Kerry Visits Ethiopia

Originally published on Mon May 27, 2013 3:00 am

Secretary Of State John Kerry made a stop in Ethiopia's capital Addis Ababa over the weekend. Kerry was in Africa several weeks ahead of a trip to the region by President Obama.

Parallels
3:25 pm
Sun May 19, 2013

Young Kenyans Build Mobile Apps For Local Use

Kenyans watch a presentation at the "mobile apps garage showcase" this in Nairobi.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 7:59 pm

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.

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Parallels
3:50 am
Sun May 19, 2013

Escape From An Eritrean Prison

Eritrea's human rights record has been widely criticized under President Isaias Afwerki, shown here speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 23, 2011.
Stan Honda AFP/Getty

Originally published on Sun May 19, 2013 6:56 am

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.

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Africa
1:33 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

The Enemy Inside: Rhino's Protectors Sometimes Aid Poachers

Mike Watson (left), CEO of Kenya's Lewa Conservancy, and conservationist Ian Craig identify the carcass of a 4-year-old black rhino named Arthur, whom poachers had killed the night before. The well-armed, well-informed poachers very likely used night vision goggles and a silencer on an AK-47.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 6:19 pm

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.

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Animals
3:34 am
Sun May 12, 2013

Rhino Horns Fuel Deadly, Intercontinental Trade

Originally published on Sun May 12, 2013 4:55 am

NPR's Frank Langfitt and Gregory Warner have teamed up for a series about how myth and money are driving extraordinary slaughter of rhinos. They talk with host Rachel Martin about the issue, which has repercussions from the African continent all the way to Asia.

Animals
3:29 am
Sat May 11, 2013

To Count Elephants In The Forest, Watch Where You Step

Elephants gather at dusk to drink at a watering hole in Kenya.
Ben Curtis AP

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 9:37 am

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.

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Africa
12:35 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

With Robocalls, Eritrean Exiles Organize Passive Resistance

Eritrea's President Isaias Afwerki, shown on a visit to Libya in 2010, has been widely criticized by human rights groups. Eritrean exiles have organized passive protests, calling on people to stay home Friday.
Geert Vanden Wijngaert AP

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 3:27 pm

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.

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Africa
3:06 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

787 Dreamliner Could Mean Big Things For Africa's 'Air Wars'

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

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

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

And I'm Audie Cornish. The Dreamliner is coming back. FAA regulators have approved a fix for the Boeing Dreamliner 787, which was grounded around the world out of safety concerns. The first redesigned plane could retake to the skies as soon as this weekend out of Ethiopia. NPR's Gregory Warner explains what the world's most modern aircraft means to the cradle of humanity.

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Africa
2:24 pm
Fri March 29, 2013

Western Money, African Boots: A Formula For Africa's Conflicts

Ugandan soldiers serving with the African Union Mission in Somalia prepare to advance on the central Somali town of Buur-Hakba.
Stuart Price AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri March 29, 2013 5:55 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
4:00 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Will Congolese Warlord's Weirdly Civil Surrender Get Fellow Rebels A Free Pass?

Gen. Bosco Ntaganda addresses a news conference in Kabati, a village located in Congo's North Kivu province, on Jan. 8, 2009. He showed up at the U.S. Embassy in Kigali on Monday and asked to be transferred to The Hague where is wanted on war crimes charges.
Abdul Ndemere Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Tue March 19, 2013 4:19 pm

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.

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All Tech Considered
1:11 pm
Sat March 9, 2013

How Kenya's High-Tech Voting Nearly Lost The Election

An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission official carries closed ballot boxes to be counted in Mombasa.
Ivan Lieman AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat March 9, 2013 3:10 pm

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.

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The Two-Way
11:33 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Guys, Your Colorblindness Might Be Messing With Kenya's Elections

Kenyan election observers and voters in the mixed slum of Kiambiu — where the first fires started in Nairobi after the disputed presidential election of 2007 — vote in this year's elections. Could something as innocent as the color of the ballots and ballot boxes be contributing to voting "irregularities"?
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Mon March 25, 2013 12:44 pm

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.

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Africa
3:20 am
Wed March 6, 2013

Presidential Runoff Expected In Kenya

Originally published on Wed March 6, 2013 9:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Kenya is in the midst of counting votes - slowly - in its presidential election, which went off smoothly despite fears of political violence. So far the candidate who is the favorite to win is one of the richest men in Africa and a man who is also accused of crimes against humanity. NPR's Gregory Warner has this update from Nairobi.

CHOIR: (Singing in foreign language)

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Africa
3:34 pm
Mon March 4, 2013

Kenyan Election Marked But Record Turnout, Limited Violence

Originally published on Wed March 13, 2013 10:13 am

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Votes are now being tallied in Kenya's presidential contest. The country has taken strides to avoid the kind of violence that followed the last election back in 2007, but today did not begin well. More than a dozen people were killed in attacks by separatists in Kenya's port city of Mombasa. But elsewhere, long lines and bureaucratic delays under a hot sun were the main obstacles for voters, who turned out in record numbers.

Here's NPR's Gregory Warner.

(SOUNDBITE OF CROWD)

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Africa
3:49 am
Sun March 3, 2013

In Kenya, Political Puppets Give Voice To Satire

In this screengrab, three puppets debate one another on The XYZ Show's presidential debate, which aired in February.
The XYZ Show YouTube

Originally published on Sun March 3, 2013 1:22 pm

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Africa
4:06 am
Thu February 28, 2013

Kenyan Worry Election Will Bring A Repeat Of Tribal Violence

Originally published on Thu February 28, 2013 10:04 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Kenya will soon have a new president. Voters there go to the polls on Monday. The last election was followed by allegations of vote-rigging, and by weeks of deadly tribal violence, which left more than a thousand dead. NPR's Gregory Warner sat down with a few perpetrators of that violence in a bar to watch a Kenyan presidential debate and to find out what, if anything, has changed this time around.

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Africa
2:08 pm
Mon February 25, 2013

Fearing Election Turmoil, Kenyans Seek A Tech Solution

Kenyan authorities are trying to guard against fraud and violence when they hold a presidential election on March 4. Here, voters register on biometric equipment last December in Nairobi.
Simon Maina AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon February 25, 2013 6:22 pm

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.

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