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100 Most Influential Africans of 2017 according to New African Magazine

The New African magazine has published its 100 Most Influential Africans of 2017. The list is a blend of Africans making an impact on the continent and people of African descent excelling in their respective fields.



The list of 100 most influential Africans of 2017 is the New African magazine’s most diverse to date. It 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. The list nominees and winners include profiles from 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 –a 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.

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. The 2017 list also features 42 women out of the hundred, the highest number of female entries so far.

Some of the notable influential women included in the list are: Amina J Mohammed – UN Deputy Secretary General (Kenya), Haben Girma – Deaf-blind Harvard Law law graduate and disability rights activist (Eritrea/Ethiopia/US), Dr Fatima Akilu – Psychologists and founder Neem Tree Foundation Rehabilitating Boko Haram victims (Nigeria), Biram Dah Abeid – Awardin-winning anti-modern slavery hero (Mauritania), Ruth Negga – Actress and rising Hollywood star (Ethiopia/Ireland) and Eniola Aluko – the football star who stood up and exposed a racism in the English FA (Nigeria/UK).

Ambassador Harper Meets With Biram Dah Abeid | by US Mission Geneva photo credit Flickr

Read: Winners of the AFRIMMA 2017 Awards: Oliver Mtukudzi and Salif Keita honoured

The Civic society and Activism category has a new breed of influential activists including those fighting for the 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.”