Ofeibea Quist-Arcton

Ofeibea Quist-Arcton is a journalist and broadcaster from Ghana who reports for NPR News on issues and developments related to West Africa. She spent her early years in Ghana, Italy, Britain and Kenya.

Quist-Arcton has lived and worked in the U.K., France, Ivory Coast, U.S., South Africa and most recently Senegal, traveling all over Africa as a journalist, broadcaster, commentator and host.

After completing high school in Britain, she took a degree in French studies with international relations and Spanish at the London School of Economics (LSE) and went on to study radio journalism at the Polytechnic of Central London, with two internships at the BBC.

Quist-Arcton joined the BBC in 1985, working at a number of regional radio stations all over Britain, moving two years later to the renowned BBC World Service at Bush House in London, as a producer and host in the African Service. She traveled and reported throughout Africa.

She spent the year leading up to 1990 in Paris, on a BBC journalist exchange with Radio France International (RFI), working in "Monito" — a service supplying reports and interviews about Africa to African radio stations, and with RFI's English (for Africa) Service as a host, reporter and editor.

Later in 1990, Quist-Arcton won one of the BBC's coveted foreign correspondents posts, moving to Abidjan, 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 the continent from Mauritania, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Mali, to Zaire and Congo-Brazzaville, via Chad, Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon. She contributed to all BBC radio and television 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 BBC West Africa correspondent, she returned to Bush House in 1994, as a host and senior producer on the BBC World Service flagship programs, Newshour & Newsday (now The World Today), and as a contributing Africa specialist for other radio and TV output.

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. She also spent six months as a roving Africa reporter, covering — among other events — the fall of President Mobutu Sese Seko in Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo) in 1997.

In 1998, after another stint back at BBC World Service, Quist-Arcton was appointed co-host of the South African Broadcasting Corporation's flagship radio drive-time show, PM Live, based in Johannesburg.

In 2000, she left the BBC to join allAfrica.com (allAfricaGlobal Media) as Africa correspondent, 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 November 2004 at the newly-created post of West Africa Correspondent, moving back to her home region, with a new base in Senegal.

Her passions are African art and culture, music, literature, open-air markets, antiques - and learning. She loves to travel and enjoys cycling and photography.

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4:37am

Mon February 27, 2012
Africa

Senegal's Early Vote Tally Indicates Runoff Ahead

Originally published on Mon February 27, 2012 5:21 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

People in Senegal voted over the weekend, an election overshadowed by protests and violence. People managed to keep the actual voting mostly peaceful. Now, it looks like they'll have to vote again. A run-off seems likely in the election that features an 85-year-old president who changed the law in order to seek a third term. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

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2:00am

Fri February 24, 2012
NPR Story

Observers Fear Violence-Marred Election In Senegal

With just two days left before Senegal's presidential election, mediation efforts are underway to try to calm a political standoff in the West African nation that has led to violent protests.

1:46am

Sun February 19, 2012
Africa

'Enough Is Enough' Say Sengalese Rappers

Police arrest Kilifa, center, one of two leaders of Senegal's rapper-led youth movement on Thursday in Dakar.
AFP/Getty Images

Senegal's capital of Dakar remains jittery, with the youth and the riot police locked in running street battles.

The police are using teargas, rubber bullets and water cannon spray to chase away angry opposition demonstrators, including rappers from the Y'en a Marre movement. Their name means "We're Fed Up, Enough is Enough."

This past week, a planned overnight sleep-in protest was broken up by the security forces. Founding member and rapper, Djily Baghdad, blames Abdoulaye Wade for the ban, the crackdown and for overstaying his welcome as president of Senegal.

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10:01pm

Mon February 13, 2012
Africa

At 85, Senegal's Defiant President Seeks A New Term

Originally published on Tue February 14, 2012 8:54 am

Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, greets supporters during a campaign rally in Dakar last week. He is seeking a third term. Critics say he is violating the constitution and should step down.
Gabriela Barnuevo AP

The Senegalese are known for campaigning loudly, musically and enthusiastically, yet the country's reputation for democracy and stability in turbulent West Africa has taken a knock as it prepares for elections on Feb. 26.

When Senegal's top court gave its blessing last month to President Abdoulaye Wade's third-term ambitions, his opponents angrily took to the streets to demonstrate their disapproval.

Senegal was tense as police clashed with protesters demanding that the president withdraw his candidacy.

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1:00pm

Sun January 29, 2012
Africa

Attacks By Nigerian Muslim Group Stirs Fear

A radical Islamist group in northern Nigeria has claimed responsibility for a series of deadly bombing attacks last week that left more than 200 people dead. Boko Haram's campaign of violence has left minority Christians on edge in the city of Kano.

10:06am

Fri January 27, 2012
Africa

After Bombings, An Exodus From A Nigerian City

Glory Ndudi, a Christian, and her five children board a bus headed out of town on Wednesday. The recent bomb attacks that have targeted churches in Kano, Nigeria, have led to an exodus of Christians from the city.
Grant Clark NPR

The New Road bus station in the heart of Kano is a scene of bedlam.

Men, women and children are milling around, with huge bundles and baggage in all shapes and sizes, waiting to be loaded onto half a dozen buses. Others are already onboard. They're in a desperate hurry to head south, leaving behind this troubled city in the north of Nigeria.

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10:01pm

Tue January 24, 2012
Africa

Nigeria's President Under Pressure To Quell Violence

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (left) walks with the Emir of Kano Ado Bayero during a one-day visit to the city that was rocked by recent attacks.
Aminu Abuabakar AFP/Getty Images

Kano, the largest city in Nigeria's Muslim north, is an ancient, sprawling city of more than 9 million. Last Friday, the Muslim day of prayers was shattered by a series of coordinated bomb blasts.

Just down the street from one of the main market areas in the city, the street remains blocked off from a police station hit in the attacks. The radical Islamist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility.

Sagir Ali, a security guard at a parking lot at the market, says he watched as nearby government offices were attacked.

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3:05pm

Wed January 11, 2012
Africa

Nigeria Rattled By Strikes, Sectarian Violence

Originally published on Wed January 11, 2012 3:59 pm

The Nigerian government removed fuel subsidies, which drove up prices and prompted nationwide strikes this week. Here, a young man protests in front of burning tires in the commercial capital Lagos on Tuesday.
Sunday Alamba AP

Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan is facing the most sustained challenge to his presidency as he confronts crises on two fronts.

His government recently removed fuel subsidies, which has sent transportation costs soaring and prompted nationwide strikes that were in their third day Wednesday.

And a radical Muslim group is warning of renewed sectarian violence in a country that has a roughly equal split between Muslims and Christians.

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2:00am

Thu January 5, 2012
Africa

Senegal Singer To Run For President

Originally published on Thu January 5, 2012 5:00 am

Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour performs at a concert in November in Tunisia paying tribute to Tunisian youth and the revolution that inspired the Arab Spring. The popular international celebrity has announced plans to stand in his country's presidential election in February.
Anis Mili Reuters/Landov

Senegalese singer Youssou N'Dour made his name in music, and now he wants to be president of his homeland.

N'Dour gained an international audience in 1994 with his hit song "Seven Seconds," with Neneh Cherry. He went on to earn a Grammy in 2004 for the album Egypt, becoming one of Africa's most influential and popular singers.

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2:00am

Tue December 13, 2011
Africa

Contested Congo Election Fuels Fears Of Violence

A disputed election in the Democratic Republic of Congo has returned sitting President Joseph Kabila to power for the next five years. The opposition claims there was election fraud. Congo's influential Catholic church has voiced reservations about the conduct of the elections.

2:00am

Tue December 6, 2011
Africa

Fears Of Violence Over Congo Election Results

Originally published on Tue December 6, 2011 6:21 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

On November 28th, elections were held in the Democratic Republic of Congo. They were only the second democratic polls in the nation's turbulent half-century of independence, and even before voters went to the polls there were signs that all was not well.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Violence marred the run-up to the actual voting day, so polling was extended in some areas up to three days. Opposition candidates said the election itself was tainted.

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2:00am

Mon November 28, 2011
Africa

After Violent Campaign, Congo Voters Cast Ballots

The Democratic Republic of Congo holds elections for president and parliament Monday. These are the second elections since a long dictatorship ended in 1997. Elections held in 2006 represented a transition to democracy.

2:00am

Thu November 17, 2011
Africa

Congolese Presidential Candidate Orders Jail Breaks

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 10:40 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Voters in the Congo head to the polls at the end of this month. The campaigning has been beset by violence which threatens to undermine an electoral process in a giant nation that's at the heart of Africa. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports.

OFEIBEA QUIST-ARCTON, BYLINE: Campaigning took a stormy turn when veteran Congolese opposition politician and presidential candidate Etienne Tshisekedi sent a bombshell. He proclaimed himself president and ordered his supporters to stage jailbreaks to free their detained colleagues.

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2:00am

Mon November 7, 2011
Africa

Incumbent Unopposed In Liberia's Presidential Runoff

In Liberia, the second round of the presidential election is set for Tuesday. The incumbent Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, came out ahead in the first round. She was to face former Justice Minister Winston Tubman, but he has withdrawn. The development raises questions about the election's legitimacy.

2:00am

Tue November 1, 2011
Africa

Somali Militants Vow Payback For Kenya's Offensive

Originally published on Tue November 1, 2011 8:28 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne.

Yet another foreign army has sent its troops into Somalia.

INSKEEP: Many years ago, American troops took positions there.

MONTAGNE: More recently, forces from neighboring Ethiopia, with U.S. backing, have moved against Islamist groups.

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6:00am

Sun October 23, 2011
Africa

Gadhafi's Death Gets Mixed Reactions In Africa

Moammar Gadhafi styled himself as Africa's king of kings and long pursued his grand plan to unite the continent under his rule. NPR's Ofeibea Quist-Arcton reports on how his brutal end is resonating in Sub-Saharan Africa.

2:00am

Tue October 18, 2011
Africa

Liberia's Presidential Runoff Set For Next Month

The election pits Nobel Peace Prize winner and incumbent, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, against fellow Harvard graduate Winston Tubman, who is a one-time justice minister and former U.N. diplomat. Prince Johnson, a rebel leader turned senator, is backing the incumbent because she's the lesser of two evils.

3:26pm

Mon October 17, 2011
Africa

Liberian President Confident Ahead Of Runoff

Originally published on Tue October 18, 2011 10:05 am

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf addresses a crowd of supporters on Saturday outside offices of her party on the outskirts of Monrovia, Liberia's capital. She faces Winston Tubman in a runoff election scheduled for Nov. 8.

Glenna Gordon AFP/Getty Images

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, fresh from winning the Nobel Peace Prize, was hoping for an outright re-election victory last week.

But Africa's first democratically elected female leader is facing a runoff election next month. She says she is confident Liberians will vote for her in big numbers, but the first-round voting last Tuesday shows she is facing stiff competition after six years in power.

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10:01pm

Mon October 10, 2011
Africa

Peace Prize Winner Seeks Re-Election In Liberia

Liberians go to the polls Tuesday to elect a new president and lawmakers in the second key elections since the end of the civil war in 2003. The incumbent leader, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf — Africa's first democratically elected female president — was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but her opponents say she deserves neither the award nor re-election.

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4:07am

Sun September 4, 2011
Conflict In Libya

Future African Relations Among Uncertainty In Libya

Moammar Gadhafi bankrolled and championed the vision of a United States of Africa, with himself as the continental president. As Libya struggles to find its equilibrium on the cusp of what appears to be the post-Gadhafi era, one question is its future as part of Africa.

The African Union has not officially recognized the rebel leadership in Libya, saying "regime change" and outside intervention were wrong.

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