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The 50 most influential Africans

By Thano Bhebhe in Harare Parselelo Kantai in Nairobi, Alex Macbeth, Billie McTernan, Prince Ofori-Atta, Crystal Ordeson in Cape Town Nicholas Norbrook, Patrick Smith, Zainab Usman, Marshall Van Valen, Gemma Ware
Posted on Thursday, 20 September 2012 22:00

In the meantime, we want to outline two caveats and explain our method. First, we preferred to look at less well-known people: not the usual suspects who appear regularly in the media and stamp the conference circuits. We do however have an ‘A-list’ of the great and the good. And, for balance, we also have a list of the bad and the ugly, those whose influence is more negative and are under investigation or indictment.

Second, we wanted to present exemplars of trends that we feel have resonance beyond the individual selected. For example, the reach of religion, or the renaissance of Africa’s think tanks.

There are any number of imams and priests and healers who have a huge influence on their followers – but we have included just one representative. Likewise, Africa’s intellectuals and activists, a vital part of the upending of the corrupt establishment in North Africa, continue to make their mark felt.

We have space for just one think tank, from Ghana, that continues to publish influential reports on inflated costs in the oil sector, keenly noted and perhaps emulated by Nigerian civil society.

There are also Africans who run institutions that make a real difference to the day-to-day life of their co-citizens, such as the competition commission in South Africa.

To put together the list, we reached out to the lifeblood of this magazine, our correspondents, who in turn reached out to their networks on the ground. We called on partner organisations and publications. The long list stretches into several hundred worthy candidates.

Only 50 made the final cut●

Marc Ona Essangui – The campaigner who shakes governments (Gabon)

Manuel Vicente – From the oil fields to the corridors of power (Angola)

El-Ghassim Wane – Spokesman and behind-the-scenes negotiator (Mauritania)

Abdirashid Duale – Somalia is open for business (Somalia)

Fatou Bensouda – An African prosecutor for African crimes (Gambia)

Shan Ramburuth – Crusher of the cartel (South Africa)

Who is on the ‘A’ list of The Africa Report’s 50 most influential Africans?

Kofi Annan – The global mediator, Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi – Ethiopia’s richest man, Aliko Dangote – Africa’s cement king, Mo Ibrahim – Good governance guy, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – First woman president, Donald Kaberuka – The economic shepherd, Graça Machel – The elder stateswoman, Patrice Motsepe – How to BEE rich, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Busting vested interests, Lamido Sanusi – Central bank doctor

Acha Leke – Puttin Africa on the investment map (Cameroon)

Miriem Bensalah Chaqroun – A voice for Moroccan businesses (Morocco)

Moïse Katumbi Chapwe – The people’s governor (DRC)

Inge Zaamwani-Kamwi – Queen of diamonds (Namibia)

T. B. Joshua – Fire, brimstone, cash and the eye of a needle (Nigeria)

James Mwangi – The chief executive of Equity Bank explains how the ‘go-it-alone’ approach is failing Africa:

In Silicon Valley, entrepreneurs come together and they are supported so that they become bankable

Samir Dilou– Balancing radicals and progressives (Tunisia)

Vincent le Guennou – Seeding African business (Franco-Cameroon)

S. K. Macharia – The media magnate with the popular touch (Kenya)

Navanethem Pillay – Anti-apartheid veteran turned global human rights crusader (South Africa)

Nasir El-Rufai – A critical view on the ties that divide (Nigeria)

General Athman ‘Bachir’ Tartag – Hard man to love (Algeria)

RebeccaKadagaUganda’s speaker of parliament.

“We expect that key aspects of the [oil] sector that have for long caused concern will be addressed

Bernard Njonga – Tireless campaigner for farmers’ rights (Cameroon)

Michel Sidibé – Bringing an end to AIDS denial (Mali)

Tokyo Sexwale & Cyril Ramaphosa – either of these charismatic figures could be president (SA)

Femi Otedola – Bankrolling the president (Nigeria)

Prince Kofi Amoabeng – The ‘grey’ banker (Ghana)

Daniel Yohannes – An African voice in Washington (Ethiopia)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Taking down the cliché’s one by one (Nigeria)

Louise Mushikiwabo – Kigali hosts a successor in the making (Rwanda)

Zwelinzima Vavi – Standing up to the corrupt and the powerful (South Africa)

Rising Stars

A new generation of technology experts, environmental activists and politicians are shaping debates from Ghana to Kenya and beyond

Jason Njoku – An African flag on the internet (Nigeria)

Daviz Simango – Giving them real choice (Mozambique)

Franklin Cudjoe – The boffins fight back (Ghana)

Ikal Angelei – Anti-dam dame (Kenya)

Rabab El-Mahdi – Political scientist in the streets (Egypt)

Saviour Kasukuwere – Post-Mugabe positioner (Zimbabwe)

Not all influence is good influence, and the long arm of the law is out to get these notorious bad boys.

Issa Hayatou – Spoilsport (Cameroon) Abdelhamid Abou Zeid – Desert rat (Algeria) Uhuru Kenyatta – Storm brewer (Kenya) Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue – Big spender (Equatorial Guinea) Bosco Ntaganda – Rebel without a deal (Democratic Republic of Congo)

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