Frank Langfitt

Frank Langfitt is NPR’s foreign correspondent in East Africa. Based in Nairobi, Kenya, he covers nine countries, from the jungles of eastern Congo to the streets of Mogadishu. His stories on conflict, wildlife and the continent’s growing ties with China can be heard on Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Tell Me More and the Planet Money series.

Before moving to Africa in 2010, Langfitt was a NPR business correspondent based in Washington, D.C. In that beat he covered a wide variety of labor stories, including coal mine disasters in West Virginia, factory life in South China, the 2008 U.S. financial crisis and the bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler.

Langfitt traveled to China to cover the 2008 Summer Olympic Games for NPR. He was part of a team that won an Edward R. Murrow Award for sports reporting. Langfitt's print and visual journalism have also been honored by the Overseas Press Association and the White House News Photographers Association.

Africa is Langfitt’s second foreign posting. Prior to arriving at NPR in 2004, he spent five years as a correspondent for the Baltimore Sun in Beijing. In his time overseas, he covered the Hong Kong handover, the fall of Suharto in Indonesia and reported from Taiwan, Korea and Vietnam. In the early days of the Afghan War, Langfitt reported from Pakistan and Kashmir. In China, he also traveled on horseback with Tibetan nomads and spent six months documenting the government's demolition of an old Beijing neighborhood.

Lanfitt’s start in journalism began when he worked as a stringer for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Later he spent several years in Hazard, Kentucky, covering the state's coalfields for the Lexington Herald-Leader. Before becoming a journalist, Langfitt drove a taxi in Philadelphia and dug latrines in Mexico.

Langfitt is a graduate of Princeton and was a Nieman Fellow at Harvard. He now lives in a British, colonial-era bungalow in Nairobi with his wife, Julie, a veterinarian, and their two children, who think Africa is a blast.

 

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4:11am

Tue September 18, 2012
NPR Story

In China, Ex-Police Chief Waits For Trial Verdict

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 5:42 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The trial of the former police chief who ignited the worst political scandal in China in decades wrapped up today. Wang Lijun is accused of trying to defect to the U.S. and covering up a murder involving the wife of a one-time powerful Communist Party official. NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following the trial from Shanghai.

And first, Frank, remind us what this case is all about.

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8:39pm

Sun September 16, 2012
Africa

Rwanda's Economy: An Unlikely Success Story

Originally published on Tue September 18, 2012 7:52 am

Rwanda's President Paul Kagame at the International Fund for Agricultural Development headquarters in Rome in February. Changes in agriculture have been part of the country's economic growth.
Tiziana Fabi AFP/Getty Images

East Africa is a tough place to do business. Want to open shop in Kenya? Prepare for a month of paper work, surly officials and bribes. To the west, in Rwanda, it's a different story.

"Registering a business takes just a matter of hours. It no longer takes months, weeks, as it used to be," says Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

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4:43am

Wed August 29, 2012
Asia

Chinese Blame Failed Infrastructure On Corruption

Originally published on Thu August 30, 2012 2:04 am

Eight bridges have collapsed around China since 2011. Here, government investigators examine a recently built entrance ramp that collapsed last week in the northeastern city of Harbin, killing three people. Local residents believe government corruption and substandard materials are to blame.
Frank Langfitt NPR

When the Yangmingtan bridge opened in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin in November, local officials hailed it as a grand achievement.

The bridge stretched more than nine miles and cost nearly $300 million. Construction was supposed to take three years, but workers finished in half that time.

"A lot of comrades didn't go home for more than a year, never took a holiday, never took off a weekend," Yang Qingwei, the party secretary of a bridge construction company, proudly told Heilongjiang provincial TV.

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2:59pm

Wed August 22, 2012
Summer Nights: Funtown

Festive Nanjing Road Recaptures Shanghai's Heyday

Originally published on Wed August 22, 2012 6:34 pm

The "Loving Happiness Band," supported, in part, by the Communist Party, plays for a crowd on Nanjing Road.
Frank Langfitt NPR

In the 1920s and 1930s, Shanghai was one of the world's most exciting — and notorious — cities. But all that came to an end in the middle of the last century, when the Communists took charge.

Over the past decade or so, though, a vibrant Shanghai has re-emerged. Today, it's a dynamic city of 23 million, with a skyline that dwarfs Manhattan's.

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2:30am

Mon August 20, 2012
Asia

Bo Xilai's Wife Gets Suspended Death Sentence

Originally published on Mon August 20, 2012 11:50 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's go next to China, where the wife of a fallen Communist Party leader has received a sentence - a suspended death sentence for murdering a British businessman. Her accomplice, a family employee, was sentenced to nine years in prison. Gu Kailai came under suspicion after a scandal involving her husband, who was one of the rising stars of the Communist Party before he lost his job amid suspicions about his behavior. NPR's Frank Langfitt has been following this case from Shanghai.

Hi, Frank.

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