• About Joe Penney

    Joe Penney is a writer and photographer who lives in New York City. His photos have appeared in Geo, Jeune Afrique, Le Monde, Newsweek (Africa edition), The Guardian, The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and Time, among others. His articles have appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera and in Montreal newspapers and Paris journals. He has photographed presidential elections in Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Mauritania, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone as well as the 2012 coup in Mali, Mauritanian refugee camps, mining sites in Niger, migrants in the Sahel, counterterrorism campaigns in Cameroon, the 2013-2014 conflict in Central African Republic and the people's coup in Burkina Faso in 2014.

    In 2013, he covered the French airstrike campaign in Mali for Reuters. He co-founded Sahelien.com, a website covering news in the Sahel region, in 2013. Until 2016, he was the West Africa photography bureau chief for Reuters, having lived in Ivory Coast, Mali and Senegal.

    Penney graduated from McGill University in Montreal. He speaks English, French and Spanish.

    Timbuktu’s Ancient Manuscripts Are Being Saved but Not Translated

    by  • February 7, 2017 • Africa, Education, Unesco • 1 Comment

    TIMBUKTU — Down the road from the 700-year-old iconic Djinguereber mosque in this north-central Malian city lies the Al Qadi library, a private, family-owned collection holding hundreds of manuscripts from nearly a millennium ago. The manuscripts are priceless treasures of African history that experts say cover a range of topics, from minute religious law disputes...

    Read more →

    A West African Coup’s Potential Ripple Effects

    by  • May 16, 2012 • Africa, Security Council • 5 Comments

    Guinea-Bissau army

    DAKAR, Senegal — The fate of Guinea-Bissau hangs on precariously as regional and international bodies involved in resolving the country’s post-coup crisis, which forestalled a presidential run-off vote, disagree about pace and tactics. The complications from the coup and another recent government overthrow, in Mali, have created unease throughout West Africa, possibly the last...

    Read more →

    A Transition in Sight for Mali

    by  • April 9, 2012 • Africa, Refugees • 1 Comment

    mali

    BAMAKO, Mali — The junta that upended the country here on March 22 has agreed to hand over power to Dioncounda Traore, the president of the National Assembly, in the next few days. Mali was set to hold a presidential election on April 29 before a junior military officer and his entourage ousted the...

    Read more →

    In Tiny Guinea-Bissau, Ruthless Politics and Cool Refrain

    by  • March 30, 2012 • Africa, Security Council • 4 Comments

    Bissau port

    BISSAU, Guinea-Bissau — Guinea-Bissau’s presidential election on March 18 and the shooting of the country’s former military intelligence that evening caught the world’s attention briefly, as rumors of a coup festered. So far, that has not happened. Since then, more prominent West African nations have snagged international attention: the presidential election run-off in Senegal,...

    Read more →

    Tensions in Senegal Raise the Heat in the Region

    by  • February 9, 2012 • Africa • 2 Comments

    DAKAR, Senegal — Senegal has always been praised as the most secure country in West Africa since its independence in 1960 from France. Its capital, Dakar, perched on the western edge of the Atlantic coastline, is a city of very rich and very poor, mosques and outdoor athletic fields, hawkers and cultural aficionados. A...

    Read more →