This year’s Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people list has officially been released, and more Africans made the list this year than ever before. This has been welcomed with open arms across the continent, as it is a clear illustration that Africa has cemented its place in global affairs. It is a firm demonstration that Africa should no longer be exclusively associated with poverty, impunity and corruption. The lucky 10 that were included in the list are drawn from all parts of the continent, and five different categories – titans, icons, leaders, artists and leaders. In addition every one of those featured in the list have the honor of having their profile done by a well known personality, one of the African ‘influencers’ was covered by Bill Gates!! It’s all very exciting.
Thuli Madonsela– Gone are the days when African public officers’ only job description was to cover up shady deals made by dirty politicians and other public officers. Madonsela, a South African, has been described by Sansui the former governor of Nigeria’s central bank as “inspirational example of what African public officers need to be.” She has vast experience in land reform and takes the struggle for human rights more than just a day job, she has made it personal, and she has made it her life. Madonsela rose to prominence when she publicized that $23 million of taxpayers’ money has been spent on ‘security upgrades’ to the President’s home. She further labelled the action “unlawful,” it has since become the centre of political debate as presidential elections are set to take place in South Africa in May.
Madonsela is a leader because, anywhere in the world, taking on the President on charges of corruption during an election year can get you killed. Sadly it’s that black and white. As we strive to make a mark on the entrepreneurship world we cannot forget those that ensure our rights are protected.
Aliko Dangote – Africa’s richest man has made it on another list! This is not a surprise for many, but the reason he is on the list is. The fact that Dangote is on the list for his philanthropy and not his massive wealth illustrates that money does not always equal influence. This is the lucky ‘influencer’ who was profiled by Bill Gates. His philanthropy work is focused on the eradication of polio in his native country of Nigeria. “I know him best as a leader constantly in search of ways to bridge the gap between private business and public health,” says Gates. He continues to further credit Dangote for pioneering the fight against Polio and saving the lives of many children while simultaneously driving economic activity throughout the continent.
Aliko Dangote is the entrepreneur that every struggling entrepreneur in Africa wants to be. However we often overlook the fact that we would not be who we are without our communities and even as we succeed and soar to new heights we should not leave them behind.
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – For me, she is the whole package. An expert in her field, a woman pushing the boundaries, and most notably “the guardian of Nigeria’s public funds.” Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is not just any ordinary Finance Minister, she is THE finance minister. She has –as some say- single handily officially made “corruption her enemy.” Her profile was done by Bono a fellow philanthropist with a special connection to Africa. He highlights the reason that everyone knows her name, because of the fact that she campaigned for debt relief in Nigeria which allowed them to become the leading economy in Africa.
Despite her tough stance on corruption and her drive to achieve stability in her country, Iweala is warm and kind; everyone wants to work with her. She inspires us to remain humble and down to earth even when we find ourselves in the darkest of situations.
Abdul Fattah al-Sisi – Many have labelled the man a “tyrant who overthrew Egypt’s first freely elected leader” while others believe that he is a “patriot” and the only one who can guide Egypt through transition. Despite which side of the wall you fall, al-Sisi is a man of influence. In Egypt what he says goes and it’s really that simple.
His country is on the way to another record-breaking election, where he shall contest for the Presidential seat and many believe he will be victorious. What does this mean for the 600+ Muslim Brotherhood supporters who were just recently sentenced to death? What does this mean for the country that is so desperate for direction? Only time will tell.
Source: TIME magazine, Sundayworld.co.za