The New African magazine has released its list of ‘100 Most Influential Africans,’ celebrating achievements of people “whose lives and work have created far-reaching ripples within the continent and abroad.”
On the list which appears in this year’s Christmas (December/January) issue of ‘New Africa,’ are like heads of state Kenya’s new President, William Arap Ruto; Rwanda’s Paul Kagame who has appeared over the years on the list year out, and Sierra Leone’s Maada Bio, who has allocated over 20% of his country’s budget to education.
Also on the list published by Africa’s longest-established pan-African English periodical are former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, and Peter Obi, candidate of the country’s Labour Party candidate for the February 2023 elections.
The list equally parades the crème of Africa’s creative talent comprising writers, singers, actors, designers, editors, journalists, chefs and even Tiktokers, including Kenya’s actress Lupita Nyong’o, UK Vogue editor Edward Enninful, and Nigerian entertainer- Burna Boy, in addition to the continent’s best-selling authors and designers currently creating a unique African aesthetic that cannot be ignored.
The list comprises 27 African nationalities, dominated by Nigerians who make up 28 entries; followed by South Africa’s 11; Kenya, 9; while Ghana and Cameroon have five each. A further breakdown shows that the list has 62 men and 38 women, while creatives lead with 26 entries, followed by entrepreneurs 21, while Anglophone Africans are in the majority with 67.
A statement by the magazine noted that although the list contains a fresh and exciting crop of fresh achievers, there are names that have appeared before, which it quoted the editor, Anver Versi, as saying “is a tribute to their staying power that year on year, they do not rest on their laurels but continue with fresh impetus to do more for more people in more areas.”
This year’s listing, as previous listings have done, the statementcontinued, reflectsthe changing emphasis and priorities on the continent. As normal life begins to reassert itself after the COVID ravages, Africa’s entrepreneurs, innovators, social and environmental activists, scientists and opinion shapers make a strong comeback into the ranks.
In the field of sport, the French Algerian football superstar Karim Benzema joins other sporting greats like Senegal’s Sadio Mane and Kenya’s Eluid Kipchoge. Their influence transcends sports and they have become role models for the youth of this young continent.