Two Zimbabweans, Econet Wireless founder and chairman Strive Masiyiwa and pop sensation Tinashe are among the people listed New African magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017.
A deaf and blind Harvard University law graduate activist, an attitude-changing teen dance troop from a Ugandan slum, and a Mauritanian modern day slavery abolitionist hero, are among the fresh faces joining renown business magnates, political heavyweights and showbiz stars in the New African Magazine annual 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017 list released last week.
The list — the magazine’s most diverse to date — is spread over eight categories: politics and public service; business and finance; civil society and activism; education; science, technology and innovation; media; arts and culture; and sport — profiles both continental and Diasporan Africans nominated by their peers and industry insiders.
“What our readers will find pleasing, is the almost bewildering diversity of this list — in terms of race, ethnic and national diversity. This list, if nothing else, displays the beauty and power of the diversity that makes the Africa we all love,” says Omar Ben Yedder — group publisher and MD of IC Publications.
For the first time since the magazine began publishing this acclaimed end-of-year list five years ago, the 2017 list features 42 women out of the hundred, the highest number of female entries so far.
With 21 entries, Nigeria tops the nominations, closely followed by South Africa which scored 14 names. In total the list includes entries from 31 countries including 12 Francophone Africa.
Perhaps as a sign of shifting interests and changing times in Africa, the Arts and Culture section has the highest number of entries and most of the new names.
“Our criteria for “influential” this year was a fairly simple one — it is applied to people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling.
“This effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others. Many in our selection have shattered the proverbial glass-ceilings or disability stigma and do so with great bravery, determination and personal sacrifice. Others yield economic power that impacts world markets,” explains Anver Versi, the magazine’s editor.
He adds: “African talent in the arts, culture, sports and technology has also has a huge impact on changing the world’s perception towards Africa and its people.”
Selected names from the list
Amina J Mohammed — UN Deputy Secretary-General (Nigeria)
George Weah — Football legend and politician (Liberia)
Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus — First African WHO Director-General (Ethiopia)
Aliko Dangote — Business mogul, Africa’s richest man (Nigeria)
Strive Masiyiwa — Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless (Zimbabwe)
Elon Musk — Founder of PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and OpenAI (South Africa)
Professor Yaye Kène-Gassama Dia — Scientist (Senegal)
Carlos Lopes — Former Uneca chief, Professor of Economics University of Cape Town
Edward Kobina Enninful — First black and male Editor of British Vogue (Ghana/UK)
Khanyi Dhlomo — Founder of Ndalo Media (South Africa)
Trevor Noah — Satirist (South Africa)
Zeinab Badawi — Broadcaster and documentary film maker (Sudan/UK)
Khadija Patel — Editor-in-Chief, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)
Imbolo Mbue — New author-to-watch (Cameroon)
WizKid — Award-winning musician (Nigeria)
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — Author (Nigeria)
Tinashe — Pop star (Zimbabwe)
Idris Elba — The unstoppable blockbuster king (Ghana/Sierra Leone/UK)
Anthony Joshua — Boxing heavyweight champ (Nigeria/UK)
Mo Salah — Footballer (Egypt)
Mo Farah — Athlete (Somalia/UK)
Caster Semenya — Athletics 800 meters golden girl (South Africa)
Wayde van Niekerk — Athlete (South Africa)
The Sunday Mail