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New African Magazine announces its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017

New African Magazine announces its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017
  • PublishedDecember 6, 2017

The New African Magazine  has revealed  its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017.  Find out who made the list at the bottom of this report.

A deafblind 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 today.

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 Managing Director of IC Publications.

For the first time since the magazine began publishing this acclaimed end-of-year list 5 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.  

Popular new entries include the Triplets Ghetto Kids dance troop from Uganda and Ghanaian born new Editor of British Vogue Edward Kobina Enninful, as well as new heavyweight boxing sensation Nigerian-British Anthony Joshua.

Only three Heads of State made the list this year – Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addo,  Rwanda’s Paul Kagame and President Alpha Conde of Guinea.  Nigeria’s Vice President Yemi Osinbajo also made the list in the Politics and Public Service category  for how he served as a safe pair of hands during President Buhari’s enforced absence for most part of 2017.

Leading business magnates Aliko Dangote (Nigeria), Mohammed Dewji (Tanzania) make a return on the Business and Finance category, which also sees two names that have been media fodder this year,  Angola’s Isabel dos Santos and  Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais.  This year also has more French and Arab speaking entries in this category.

However, perhaps as a sign of shifting interests and changing times in Africa, the Arts and Culture showbiz section has the highest number of entries and most  of the new names. Making a return in this category is Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, who is joined by fresh faces such as Adwoa Aboah and the refreshing Hijab wearing Somali top model Halima Aden.

Surfacing in the Civic society and Activism category is a new breed of activists  including  those fighting for the routinely ignored yet important rights of people with disabilities in Africa.  Nigeria’s Eros Ikponwosa – herself affected by albinism makes the list for her work with the UN Human Rights Commission in highlight the plight of people with albinism.  With the raw and heartrending recent exposé of Libya’s Africans slave-trade, the entry of Mauritania’s  anti-slavery hero Biram Dah Abeid  in this category,  is poignant.

“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.”




FULL LIST (Nationality/Descent in Brackets)



Amina J Mohammed – UN Deputy Secretary General. (Nigeria)

George Weah – Football legend and aspiring President (Liberia)

Yemi Osinbajo – Vice President (Nigeria)

Alpha Condé – President (Guinea)

Mohammed VI – King (Morocco)

Justice David Maraga – Supreme Court Judge (Kenya)

Nana Akufo-Addo – President (Ghana)

Sophia Abdi Noor – Politician (Kenya)

Akinwumi Adesina – President Africa Development Bank; Winner – World Food Prize 2017 (Nigeria)

Vanessa Moungar – Director of Gender AfDB (Chad)

Vera Songwe – New head – UN Economic Commission for Africa (Cameroon)

Moussa Faki Mahamat – African Union Commission Chairperson (Chad)

Paul Kagame – President (Rwanda)

Pravin Gordhan – Political stalwart, former Finance Minister (South Africa)

Sibeth Ndiaye – Advisor to French President Macron (Senegal)

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus – new and first African WHO Director General (Ethiopia)

Bola Tinubu – Former Lagos State governor (Nigeria)

Prof. Ruth Oniang’o – Nutritionist, Africa Food Prize Winner (Kenya)



Aliko Dangote – Successful business mogul Africa’s richest man (Nigeria)

Issad Rebrab – Founder and CEO, Cevital (Algeria)

Isabel dos Santos – Billionaire businesswoman former Chairperson Sonangol (Angola)

Mohamed Al Kettani – CEO Attijariwafa Bank (Morocco)

Lionel Zinsou –  creator of the Africa-France club (Benin)

Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu – Minister of State for Petroleum Resources (Nigeria)

Makhtar Diop – World Bank Vice-President for Africa (Senegal)

Abdoulaye Coulibaly – Founder of the Bamako Forum (Mali)

Abebe Selassie – Head of IMF African Department. (Ethiopia)

James Mworia – MD and CEO of Centum Investments (Kenya)

Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais – Founder and CEO, Quantum Global (Angola)

Mohammed Dewji – CEO MeTL Group (Tanzania)

Strive Masiyiwa – Founder and Chairman of Econet Wireless (Zimbabwe)

Alioune Gueye – Entrepreneur (Senegal)

Moulay Hafid – Minister of Trade and Industry (Morocco)

Dr. Sahar Nasr – Minister of Investment and International Cooperation (Egypt)

Olga Johnson – Secretary General of the Foundation for Energy (Benin)

Elon Musk – Founder: PayPal, SpaceX, Tesla, and OpenAI (South Africa)



Haben Girma – Deafblind Harvard Law law graduate and disability rights activist (Eritrea/Ethiopia/US)

Patrick ‘PLO’ Lumumba – Defence lawyer and anti-corruption champ (Kenya)

Dr Fatima Akilu – Psychologists and founder Neem Tree Foundation Rehabilitating Boko Haram victims (Nigeria)

Biram Dah Abeid   – Awardin-winning anti-modern slavery hero (Mauritania)

Ikponwosa Ero – UN’s Human Rights Council Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism. (Nigeria)

Kumi Naidoo – Co-founder, Africans Rising (South Africa)

Archbishop Stanley Ntagali – takes controversial stand on same-sex marriage (Uganda)

Jaha Dukureh – Founder Safe Hands – Anti FGM and Child Marriage (Gambia)



Nunu Ntshingila – Head, Facebook Africa (South Africa)

Dr Tebello Nyokong – Award-winning Chemist (South Africa)

Adamu Waziri – Founder – Bino and Fino African children’s TV and youtube animations

Anne-Marie Imafidon – child progidy, co-founder of Stemettes for young women in science and tech (Nigeria/UK)

Iyinoluwa ‘E’ Aboyeji – Founder, Flutterwave (Nigeria)

Sara Menker – Gro Intelligence (Ethiopia)

Jelani Aliyu – Design of GM’s electric Chevrolet Volt car, now new Director general of Nigeria’s National Automotive Design and Development Council (Nigerian)

Dr Helena Ndume – one the world’s most prolific ophthalmologists has restored sights for over 30000 people for free working with See International (Namibia)

Yvonne Mburu – co-founder of Med in Africa (Kenya)

Rebecca Enonchong – Founder AppsTech (Cameroon)

Professor Yaye Kène-Gassama Dia – A scientist of many firsts (Senegal)

Bozoma Saint John – Chief Brand Officer – Uber (Ghana)



Fred Swaniker – African Leadership Academy (Ghana)

Noëlla Coursaris Musunka – Educationist Malaika Foundation (DRCongo)

Tom Ilube – Tech entrepreneur and educationist (Nigeria/UK)

Patrick Awuah – Founder Ashesi University and winner 2017 Qatar’s WISE Prize for Education. (Ghana)

Carlos Lopes – Respected economist former UNECA chief now Professor of economics University of Cape Town



Edward Kobina Enninful – new and first black and male Editor of British Vogue ( Ghana/UK)

Khanyi Dhlomo – Media mogulette – Founder Ndalo Media (South Africa)

Adedoyin Adepitan – Intrepid Paralympian and TV presenter (Nigeria/UK)

Julie Gichuru – TV Host, public speaker and CEO of Arimus Media Limited (Kenya)

Trevor Noah – Satirist and Host The Daily Show (South Africa)

Zeinab Badawi – Broadcaster and documentary film maker (Sudan/UK)

Koos Bekker – Chairman and former CEO of media giant Naspers

Khadija Patel – Editor-in-Chief, Mail & Guardian (South Africa)


Ruth Negga – Actress and rising Hollywood star (Ethiopia/Ireland)

C4 Pedro – Musician bring Kizomba music to world stage (Angola)

Imbolo Mbue – New author-to-watch (Cameroon)

Roye Okupe – Found YouNeek Studios – which creates African comic books and superheroes (Nigeria)

Dorra Bouchoucha – Film Producer (Tunisia)

Laduma Ngxokolo – Fashion Designer inspired by his Xhosa heritage (South Africa)

Alexandra Amon – Film producer and directo of Boutique Hotel. (Cote d’Ivoire)

Njideka Akunyili Crosby – Visual Artist (Nigeria)

Sindika Dokolo – Entreprenuer and African art promoter collector – DRCongo

Duckie Thot – outspoken model and beauty diversity champion (South Sudan/Australia)

WizKid – Award-winning Afrobeat sensation (Nigeria)

Adwoa Aboah – Feminist and Top Model of the moment and (Ghana/UK)

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Author, Feminist and Global Icon (Nigeria)

Tinashe – Pop star breaking America (Zimbabwe)

Diébédo Francis Kéré – the super talented yet unsung Architect (Burkina Faso)

Halima Aden – The Hijab wearing top model breaking stereotypes (Somalia/US)

Bushra al-Fadil – Winner Caine Prize of 2017 (Sudan)

Triplets Ghetto Kids – Global dance troop phenomenon (Uganda)

Porky Hefer – a unique designer with ethical conscience (South Africa)

Idris Elba – The unstoppable blockbuster king – (Ghana/Sierra Leone/UK)



Anthony Joshua – the affable Boxing heavyweight Champ – (Nigeria/UK)

Mo Salah – Footballer who taking Egypt to the World Cup ( Egypt)

Mo Farah – One of the greatest middle and long-distance and marathon runner of his generation – (Somalia/UK)

Caster Semenya – Athletics 800 meters golden girl (South Africa)

Eniola Aluko – the football star who stood up and exposed a racism in the English FA (Nigeria/UK)

Elijah Manangoi – the new 1500meters sensation to watch ( Kenya)

Wayde van Niekerk – the world record-breaking boy wonder (South Africa)

Asisat Oshoala – Women’s football royalty – (Nigeria)

Hellen Obiri – the 5000m World Champion (Kenya)

Faith Kipyegon – double champion with big dreams (Kenya)

Kagiso Rabada -World’s most feared Cricket bowler (south Africa)









Written By
Regina Jane Jere

reGina Jane Jere is a Zambian-born London-based journalist and founding Editor of the New African Woman magazine the sister-publication of the New African magazine of which she was the Deputy Editor for over a decade. The mother of two juggles a wide-range of editorial and managerial duties, but she has particular passion on women’s health, education, rights and empowerment. She is also a former Zambian correspondent for Agence France Presse, and a former Africa Researcher at Index on Censorship. She writes extensively on a wide range of issues, from politics to women’s rights, media and free speech to beauty and fashion.

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