Jonathan W. Rosen


I'm an independent journalist writing widely from the developing world—with a particular focus on East Africa and Africa's Great Lakes region.

Over the last decade, I’ve reported from a dozen African countries—as well as India, Cambodia, Italy, and the United States. My stories, including features, analysis, and narrative nonfiction, have been published by National Geographic, MIT Technology Review, Foreign Policy, Al JazeeraThe New York TimesThe Boston Globe, the BBC, GlobalPostWorld Politics ReviewRoads & Kingdoms, Slate, and other outlets in the U.S., Europe, and Africa. My writing has also been featured on LongformLongreads, and the New Yorker's literary blog Page-Turner, and has twice been recognized at the Diageo Africa Business Reporting Awards in London, where I’m a one-time winner and two-time finalist.

My work covers a wide range of topics, including governance, regional and global geopolitics, and the impact of emerging technologies on energy, environment, and economic development across Africa and beyond. My most memorable stories include an investigation into the shooting of a leading conservationist in the Congo; an essay on a trip to visit some of the world's last remaining hunter-gatherers; a chronicle of Chinese athletes training in Kenya; a profile of Swaziland’s troubled monarchy; and an up-close look at Ethiopia’s so-called “developmental state and its ambitions to become a leading manufacturing hub in Africa. I’ve also written extensively about the post-genocide transformation of Rwanda, where I was based from 2010-2011 and 2014-2016, including in-depth features on Rwanda's authoritarian politics, development partnership with an increasingly outward-looking South Korea, and a first-of-its kind project to generate electricity from methane dissolved in a tropical lake.

I spent 2016 as a fellow of the Washington, DC-based Alicia Patterson Foundation, which funded my reporting of articles related to foreign investment in African industry, agriculture, renewable energy, and innovation. 

In addition to my reporting, I’ve worked as an independent analyst for the political risk consulting firms Eurasia Group and AT-RISK International; as a consultant for GIZ and Rotary International; as web content editor at the Boston-based public health NGO Pathfinder International; and as a book critic for USA Today, where I reviewed more than a dozen non-fiction titles related to global political economy. On my first trip to East Africa in 2004 I taught English and geography and coached cross-country at a rural Kenyan high school.

I'm a native of Amherst, Massachusetts and a graduate of Amherst Regional High SchoolTufts University, and the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Bologna, Italy and Washington, DC. In my past life I was a runner, though not a particularly good one: my 5k PR is 15:31.