10 Most Influential Africans Making Incredible Impact In Africa And Beyond

Who are the most influential Africans in the past year? You definitely want to know African personalities that have so far made an incredible impact in Africa and beyond.

Are these influential people in Africa executives of large companies, athletes, prominent artists, scientists, or politicians? Well, we have done the leg work for you. Today, we tell you about these incredible Africans.

The Most Influential Africans

10. Akon (Senegal)

Akon, the founder of Akon City

Akon, the founder of Akon City. Photo credit – Urbanislandz

Akon is a Senegalese-American singer. But what makes him one of the most influential Africans? In January 2020 singer lifted the veil on a crazy dream: to create a futuristic and ecological city, Akon City, in his home country, Senegal. His project of 6 billion dollars seems somewhat bordering on excess. Nonetheless, one is tempted to follow Akon in his madness of grandeur, especially as the “dream” tends to materialize. The American company KE International won the Akon City construction contract in mid-June.

Akon City covers an area of ​​2,000 hectares and is located near Mbodiène, south of Dakar. This city of the future is projected to run entirely on renewable energy. It will be equipped with its own airport and would use the Akoin cryptocurrency. Some might still doubt the rapper’s ambitions. But remember that five years ago, he was financing solar installations in more than ten countries on the continent. Akon, who has been successful in the United States, believes in Africa more than ever.

Also Read: 10 Successful African Entrepreneurs With Amazing Beginnings

9. Moulay Hafid Elalamy (Morocco)

Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Moroccan Minister of Industry & Trade

Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Moroccan Minister of Industry & Trade. Photo credit – Bridgesbuilder

The former businessman has been quiet in the media for some time. But the Covid-19 crisis has allowed him to find himself in the spotlight. Moulay Hafid Elalamy (MHE), Moroccan Minister of Industry and Trade, has been very reassuring and pragmatic. Every time he takes the floor, he exposes solutions and opportunities. To the point of being among the members of the government who distinguished themselves the most during the crisis.

MHE understood very early on that with the cessation of Chinese factories and the closing of the borders, the kingdom had to mobilize to avoid a shortage of masks. He, therefore, asked the private sector to adapt its industrial tool to launch into the manufacture of protective equipment.

With a production that quickly exceeded 10 million units per day, Morocco was able to build up a strategic stock. It also exported the surplus to Africa and Europe. MHE sold its insurance company Saham in 2018 to South African Sanlam for more than $ 1 billion. Subsequently, it created an investment fund that has great ambitions on the African continent. His son, Moulay M’hamed, handles its management.

Also Read: Top 10 Richest People in Africa

8. Zweli Mkhize (South Africa)

Zweli Mkhize, one of the most influencial Africans from South Africa

Zweli Mkhize. Photo credit – Timeslive

He is one of the major figures in the medical world in South Africa. As Minister of Health, Dr. Zweli Mkhize is, at 65, on the front line to fight the Covid-19 epidemic. A native of the Pietermaritzburg area, he trained at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, one of the few places in the 1970s where blacks could study medicine.

On the sidelines of his career in the field of health, Zweli Mkhize got involved very early in politics to fight against the apartheid regime. In 1976, he participated in the Black Consciousness Movement, led by Steve Biko, before joining the union movement three years later in which Cyril Ramaphosa gradually took off.

Zweli Mkhize joined the ANC in the 1990s. Then, in February 2018, he was appointed as the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs. Fifteen months later, he became Minister of Health. Mkhize is indeed one of the most influential Africans from South Africa.

7. Naguib Sawiris (Egypt)

Naguib Sawiris, one of the most influencial Africans from Egypt

Egypt tycoon Naguib Sawiris. Photo credit – Middleeastmonitor

Since joining the family business, Orascom, in 1979, Naguib Sawiris has continued to contribute to its growth and diversification. Orascom is a leading private-sector employer in Egypt. The billionaire notably created the railways and information technology and telecommunications branches of the group.

The success of these activities convinced the management to split Orascom into several entities: Orascom Telecom, Orascom Construction, Orascom Hotels & Development, and Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH). The latter has experienced rapid growth which has enabled it to become the leader in telecommunications in the region. Naguib Sawiris is also the majority shareholder of Euronews, the European channel based in Lyon. But the businessman is also known for his daring.

At the height of the pandemic, he demanded that the economy be revived. He asked this without giving the impression of being concerned about the health dimension of the crisis. But this earned him criticism from his compatriots. They accused him of not being concerned about the health dimension of the crisis.

6. Burna Boy (Nigeria)

Burna Boy, a famous Nigerian musician

Burna Boy, a famous Nigerian musician. Photo credit – Ghgossip

The pinnacle of musical consecration, Burna Boy is at the top of the latest ranking of the American magazine Billboard devoted to the fifteen best artists from sub-Saharan Africa. The ranking is based in particular on digital sales and the number of online views over the period from June 2019 to June 2020.

In front of his compatriots Davido (3rd) and Wizkid (5th), Burna Boy and his 435.57 million views stand out as the boss of contemporary Nigerian stars. His positions and his escapades are also part of his legend. At the end of May last year, the Lagos police arrested him for noise pollution.

In 2019, a few days before performing at the Coachella festival, he did not hesitate to challenge the organizers on social networks. He criticized them for putting his name in the background. He said, “I am an African giant and I will not be reduced to the small size of this writing.” The musician, a real stage animal, has everything going for him: the genius of the Afrobeat, the insolence of youth, and the pugnacity of the militant.

5. Tony Elumelu (Nigeria)

Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian billionaire and one of the most influential Africans

Tony Elumelu, a Nigerian billionaire. Photo credit – CNBC Africa

Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian billionaire and philanthropist. He is one of the most influential Africans from West Africa. The Nigerian philanthropist has for a long time been involved in the economic development of Africa. He has also been providing advice and financing to young entrepreneurs on the continent. Created in 2015, the Tony Elumelu Foundation aims to support start-ups and new companies to generate “other Elumelu”.

If it has risen sharply in our ranking compared to 2019, it is because the billionaire has had rich news since the beginning of the year. As soon as the first cases of Covid appeared in Africa, he mobilized to support the Nigerian state in its fight against the virus, very quickly paying 1 billion naira (2.3 million euros). Gabon also benefited from his support.

Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu also intervened, as President of the United Bank of Africa, at a round table bringing together in May several Heads of State and two of the African Union’s special envoys on Covid, Tidjane Thiam and Ngozi Okonjo -Iweala. On this occasion, he said the pandemic was an opportunity to “reset Africa” and make it less dependent on developed countries.

In a lighter register, the 50th birthday of his wife, Awele Vivian Elumelu, on June 23, was one of the social events of the beginning of the summer, even if the health context forced the family to lighten the program of festivities.

Also Read: Richest Countries In The World In 2021

4. Mo Ibrahim (Sudan)

Mo Ibrahim, one of the most influential Africans from Sudan

Mo Ibrahim, billionaire businessman from Sudan. Photo credit – Quartz

Mo Ibrahim, one of the most influential Africans, hails from Sudan. The Anglo-Sudanese philanthropist, who made his fortune in telecoms, remains a voice heard on the continent. At the start of the Covid-19 crisis, Mo Ibrahim relied on the work of his foundation to identify three avenues enabling Africa to better cope with the pandemic: coordinated governance at the continent level, improvement of health systems based on the experience of the 2015 Ebola epidemic and improved access of populations to basic health care.

More recently, it was the rivalries for the head of the African Development Bank that prompted his comments. In an interview with the German press in June, the billionaire grazes the attitude of many leaders of the continent: “We Africans like to talk about sovereignty, but when it comes to putting our hands in our pockets to finance the ADB we never want to pay. ”

If his judgments are often severe, Mo Ibrahim enjoys a certain credibility thanks to the work of his foundation. Since 2007, it has awarded a prize to African leaders who stand out for their “good governance”. In March, the selection committee announced that, unfortunately, it had not been able to choose a winner for the year 2020, no candidate meeting the “rigorous criteria” which condition the awarding of the prize. “Two-thirds of our fellow citizens now live in a country better governed than ten years ago, however, tempered Mo Ibrahim. Progress is therefore undeniable. ”

3. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala (Nigeria)

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of WTO.

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director-General of WTO. Photo credit – Nairalady

In March 2021, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took over as the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO). She made by becoming the first woman to occupy this position. Also, she is the first African Director General of WTO. She is a human welfare champion and an advocate of environmental sustainability.

Since leaving the Ministry of Finance in 2015, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has increased her honorary functions. She has been the chair of the board of directors of the Gavi Alliance, which was created to promote access to vaccination. She was also the co-chair of the World Commission on the Economy and the Climate.

Since April last year, the former number two of the World Bank (2007-2011) has also put effort in the African Union to mobilize international aid against the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has already won much closer games in her career. For example, by helping to put down corruption in her country. It was while she was Minister of Finance in 2014 that Nigeria became Africa’s largest economy.

2. Aliko Dangote (Nigeria)


Dangote is one of the most influential Africans from Nigeria. Over the past 10 years, Dangote has been ranked as the richest man in Africa. Forbes estimated his wealth to be 11.5 billion dollars as of 2021.

The coronavirus pandemic has nailed this frequent traveler to Lagos. It has also complicated the operations of his group’s flagship, Dangote Cement. The pandemic has also affected the work of his refinery megaproject in Lekki. Nevertheless, Aliko Dangote has embarked on the battle against the Covid-19.

In addition to a donation of $ 3 million, the richest man in Africa launched in early March, with the Central Bank of Nigeria, a private sector coalition to organize the response in his country. On the business front, this native of Kano can count on the resistance of Dangote Cement. The company is the leader in the Nigerian market and very combative elsewhere. But, in a context of health uncertainty and economic crisis, the coming months will be tense for the king of cement.

1. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Ethiopia)

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director General. Photo credit – UN

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is the first African to hold the post of Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He faces the first globalized health crisis in history. He studied biology in the UK to earn a Ph.D. in community health and a master’s in infectious disease immunology.

In 2017, this former Ethiopian Minister of Health and Foreign Affairs was elected head of one of the most important United Nations agencies on a clear program: “People must not die because they are poor. ”

Previously, many people have hailed his actions as at the head of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. His involvement was akin to a crusade. The personality and the itinerary of Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, 55, can only be understood in the light of a childhood bruised by the dramatic disappearance of his brother.

He was only 7 years old when his younger brother died of a viral disease. The brother died due to a lack of necessary treatments. He will evoke this tragedy when presenting his candidacy for WHO, promising to “work tirelessly to ensure universal health coverage and ensure that there are strong responses in emergency situations”.

No one would have predicted that three years later the whole world would be faced with such a situation. And that this father of five would be on the front lines. He is praised for his responsiveness and lambasted for his slowness or his supposed complacency towards the Chinese authorities. Also, he has come under the fire of sharp criticism from some. But other people admire him for his speeches.


The Director General of WHO could only occupy the first place of our ranking of the 10 most influential Africans in the past year. Faced with an unknown virus, without real power of constraint on the member countries of the organization which he directs, the Ethiopian is and will remain the face and voice of a world confronted with a threat as dramatic as it is unprecedented.

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  1. Dulcie
    May 5, 2022

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