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The top 50 African disruptors (36-40)

In depth
This article is part of the dossier: The top 50 African disruptors

By 'Tofe Ayeni, Erin Conroy, Alison Culliford, Nicholas Norbrook, Honoré Banda
Posted on Monday, 10 August 2020 17:42

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

36 – Jawar Mohammed 
Empowered opposition
Ethiopia

The Oromo activist has announced he will join the opposition Oromo Federalist Congress party ahead of August 2020 elections. Jawar, a founder of the Oromia Media Network, was a key organiser of the 2016 Ethiopian protests and had sparked deadly demonstrations in the Oromia region in October 2019 with a Facebook post in which he accused the government of ordering the withdrawal of his security detail in an attempt to facilitate an attack on him. Tensions between Abiy’s government and Jawar, a former ally, rose after his US-based Oromia Media Network – which has more than a million followers on Facebook – began reporting aggressively on the situation in western and southern Oromia and conflict in Amhara region. Jawar has said he wants a government that respects calls for greater regional sovereignty. There will be hurdles as he launches his political career. In February, Ethiopia’s electoral agency asked immigration authorities to establish Jawar’s citizenship after he gave up his American passport to run for election in the Ethiopian polls.

37 – Noordin M. Haji
Crime fighter
Kenya

Haji is delivering on his promise to tackle graft. The director of public prosecutions orchestrated the July 2019 arrest of the country’s finance minister, Henry Rotich, on suspicion of financial misconduct, which Rotich denies; 27 other government officials were also charged. Rotich was the first sitting cabinet member to be charged with financial misconduct in the country’s history. Days later Haji ordered the arrest of a governor on the outskirts of Nairobi for abuse of office, conflict of interest and dealing with suspect property; another governor was arrested in December for misappropriating public funds. Dozens of current and former public officials have been charged and more than 300 prosecutors have had their appointments revoked. Trained as a lawyer, Haji worked for 18 years in the Kenyan intelligence service before joining the public service in January 2000 as state
council in the attorney general’s office.

38 – Basani Maluleke 
Expanding the customer base
South Africa

The CEO of African Bank is the first black woman to be the head of a bank in South Africa, a position she acquired at the age of 42. Advocating for more leadership roles for women, she is also interested in helping South African students, founding Get Me To Graduation NPC – a non-profit organisation established to fund the subsistence needs of students in the tertiary education system. As CEO, she changed the bank’s policy to ensure that all South Africans get the best interest rates, unlike the traditional system whereby most banks only provide a good rate when people invest R100,000 or more. The MyWORLD scheme started under her leadership, enabling customers to have all their products (including transactional banking) with the bank, rather than just a loan as was previously the case. The product was a part of the African Bank’s efforts to diversify its revenue schemes and broaden its customer base, with the aim of having 1.7 million customers by 2021. In 2019, the bank recorded a third successive year of increasing profit, despite less than ideal economic conditions in the country.

39 – Kamal Yakub 
Uber for tractors
Ghana

Like most good business ideas, the Uber for tractor hire seems incredibly obvious, but it took Kamal Yakub to make it happen. Like many African countries, Ghana has a majority of smallholder farmers who cannot afford to buy a tractor, but for whom a couple of days of ploughing make a huge difference to agricultural productivity. More than enough to pay for hiring a tractor. Connecting tractors to farmholders via mobile phone is Trotro Tractor’s raison d’etre. Yakub has enabled a great leap forward in rural incomes, allowing farmers to make more investments in their land, pay for children’s education, and slow the drift of kids to the cities in search of work. He is a great advocate of getting young people into agriculture, saying the technology makes it far more profitable now to grow crops. “If you used to do two days on an acre with four people, now you use 45 minutes to finish
that acre so it allows you to do more,” Yakub told reporters. He is now expanding to Zimbabwe, with other markets in sight.

40 – Mehdi Tazi
Supporting local players
Morocco

Tazi’s meteoric ascent has seen him go from creating an offshoring platform to heading Morocco’s largest private-sector insurer, Saham, by 2014. He quit in 2017 to buy local insurance marketer Beassur, selling a stake to global insurance giant Marsh in 2019. This has generated political capital to go alongside his financial muscle, and Tazi has parlayed this into taking up a new role; as vice-president of Morocco’s confederation of chambers of commerce, the CGEM. It is a powerful position in a powerful organisation that brings together the country’s biggest businesses with the economic advisers around King Mohammed VI. He
hopes to shake up the staid CGEM alongside its president, Chakib Alj, especially in this downcycle of the Moroccan economy.
Many small businesses are suffering from unpaid bills, especially from the government, something Tazi and Alj are campaigning
to change.

Also in this in Depth:

The top 50 African disruptors (46-50)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African Disruptors (41-45)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African disruptors (31-35)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African disruptors (26-30)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African disruptors (21-25)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African disruptors (16-20)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

The top 50 African disruptors (11-15)

The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

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The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

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The Africa Report’s inaugural ranking of the top Africans who are disrupting the status quo in politics, business and the arts: from investigative journalists to world-class athletes and Nobel Peace Prize winners.

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