The list of “100 Most Influential Africans of 2015” containing the continent’s top game changers in eight different fields is dominated by Nigerians with 20 persons including President Muhammadu Buhari, as well as President Goodluck Jonathan, his predecessor.
Nigeria, which accounts for one of every five persons on the list was followed by South Africa, while 28 other nations shared the remaining 64 slots.
However, Kenya, Uganda and Cameroon also feature strongly with eight, six and six entries each respectively.
“Of the top 100 personalities 65 are men and 32 are women, with the other three being groups of people. South Africa’s students, for example, were recognised this year for their role in South Africa’s #FeesMustFall and #Rhodesmustfall campaigns,” a statement said on Monday.
Those on the list were drawn from sectors such as: Politics with 22 persons; Public Office, four; Arts and Culture, 21; just as Business. Others are: Civil Society (11); Technology (9); Media (seven); and Sports (five).
Buhari and Jonathan were key actors in the year’s general election, the first in Nigeria’s history that saw the defeat of an incumbent, becoming the country’s “most significant in recent history. Both are recognised in the December edition of “New African” magazine.
Other Nigerians on the list included the UN Special Advisor on Post Development Planning, Amina J Mohammed, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, elected President of the African Development Bank (AfDB) in May. There is also a surprising addition in the person of Chuka Umunna, a Nigerian Diasporan, who is a member of the British parliament and Labour Party leadership hopeful.
From South Africa is “the black leader of South Africa’s ‘white’ opposition” party, the DA’s youthful Mmusi Maimane who also makes the list as one to watch during the next elections.
“Prominent women making the list are UN Women’s Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and fellow South African Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, the current Chairperson of the AU Commission, widely tipped to be a potential successor to her former husband, President Jacob Zuma.
“Liberia’s President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is recognised together with her fellow heads of States, Alpha Conde of Guinea and Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone for beating the odds to win the war against Ebola in 2015.
“African financial giant and Credit Suisse boss, Tidjane Thiam from Côte d’Ivoire, makes this year’s Most Influential list for Business and Economy, where he is joined by new World Bank VP and Treasurer, Arunma Oteh, Kenyan ‘DJ’ businessman Chris Kirubi and the entrepreneur and innovator behind Tesla cars, Elon Musk, among others. Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote also makes the list.”
On the list also are innovators (Cameroon’s Tonje Bakang), philanthropists (Senegal’s Akon), athletes (Ethiopia’s Almaz Ayana), actors (Zimbabwe’s Danai Gurira and Kenya’s Lupita Nyong’o), writers (Zambia’s Namwali Serpell), cultural and media personalities (Trevor Noah and Linda Ikeji), along with the activists, artists, models, musicians that have made the headline and shaped opinions during the year.