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Most Influential Africans of 2014

Africa is on the move. Its voices are getting louder and prouder. Africa is known for being the world’s youngest continent, but every year, it makes the case a little more strongly for also being its most vibrant, most innovative and most exciting.

Its never-say-die athletes are beating the best and smashing world records. Its writers and poets are wowing the world with their beauty of prose and strength of soul. Its actors and directors are pushing new boundaries and conquering hearts. Its intrepid journalists are refusing to cower in the face of power and are shouting about the stories that need shouting about.

Furthermore, in every corner of the continent, wherever there is injustice, oppression or tyranny, Africans of every stripe – from young to old, male to female, brave to even braver – are fighting and working for a better tomorrow.

Africa is on the move. Given this transformation, happening at every level in every country, it may seem foolhardy to pick out just a hundred or so individuals of note as the continent’s most influential people. But in every march and movement, there are always a few figures who lead the line and who stick their heads above the parapets before anyone else – these can be trendsetters, visionaries, heroes, and at times even rabble-rousers whose actions or lack thereof,  make or break the continent. Wielding influence comes in diverse forms and this collection portrays just that.

In what follows, therefore, we managed – painstakingly and with huge difficulty – to pick out those particularly significant figures for the year just concluding.

Thankfully, many of them are heroes whose actions have pushed Africa forwards in exciting and positive ways. But it should be pointed out that these pages will also include some figures whose actions continue to hold the continent back. They are presented to you, the good alongside the bad, in no particular order.

Some may be part of an old guard that just never tires. Some may be children of the future with footprints deeper and weightier than their years. And some you may never have even heard of as they’ve been innovating, creating and debating behind the scenes. But without exception, and in their own way, the people we have chosen – our most influential Africans of 2014 – have left the world a little different this year.

To find out who made the list and why download the latest issue by clicking  here

Compiled and edited by: reGina Jane Jere, James Schneider, James Wan, Jon Hayward and Wanjiru Kariuki.

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Written by James Schneider

James Schneider is Senior Correspondent at New African magazine and was formerly the Editor-in-chief of Think Africa Press. He read Theology at the University of Oxford and has a particular interest in the study of political economy, capital flows, and equitable development. He is also a frequent commentator on African affairs for Monocle24 radio and other media. Email: j.schneider@icpublications.com. Follow him on Twitter @schneiderhome

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