Xan Smiley has been the Middle East and Africa editor of The Economist since 2003. He was the magazine's Europe editor from 1995 to 2003. Before that, from 1992, he was its political editor. Previously he was the US correspondent of The Sunday Telegraph, Russia correspondent of The Daily Telegraph, and foreign-affairs leader writer for The Times. From 1977 to 1981, he was editor (and later a co-owner) of Africa Confidential.
Xan started his career in journalism reporting from Africa, where he worked for the BBC, CBS, The Observer, The Spectator, The New York Review of Books, The Atlantic, Foreign Affairs, Time, The Economist and others. He was a teacher and anthropologist in Kenya after completing an MA in Russian and Modern History at New College, Oxford.