100 Most influential Africans.

Position:COVER STORY - Cover story

Putting together a list of 100 people from a continent of 54 countries will always get a newsroom into heated debate. especially in Africa where you have more inspirational figures than the continent is generally credited for So. on the following pages (in no particular order), you have a limited selection of the movers and shakers on the continent. people with an increasing global influence, those whose actions and words can move markets and sway decisions Influence can be positive or negative But we feel there are many more Positive trends on the continent than negative and as such the majority of those on the list we call "Proudly African

All Bongo Ondimba


It's no longer business as usual in Gabon. Ali Bongo Ondimba assumed the country's premier political office after winning the 2009 presidential elections following the death of his father Omar Bongo. ABO, as he is known, has embarked on a number of key reforms aimed at improving the country's economic standing by driving an industrial renaissance. He is also a leading champion of environmental issues on the continent. He was invited to the White House, where a gushing press secretary praised Gabon's "increasingly important role ... as a regional and global leader".

"We are working to promote economic growth whilst optimising environmental integrity. We have decided that we can no longer rely on our oil and forest resources if we are to offer the Gabonese people a prosperous, sustainable future."

Paul Kagame


This head of state is as much revered as he is maligned and as such is never far away from the headlines. Undoubtedly under President Kagame's stewardship, Rwanda remains on an upward trajectory, with GDP growth of 7.5% in 2011. What the country has achieved in the last 18 years should not be underestimated. It is a non-oil producing African states that has posted exceptional growth rates, and like his country, Kagame has rightly drawn acclaim from both international and domestic admirers alike. Whilst critics have often complained of his authoritarian manner, no one can question the way he has managed to heal a nation with deep and painful wounds. Development first, democracy later?


"Africa today has the opportunity to play its rightful role in the global arena."

Babatunde Fashola


Unlike many of his political peers, Lagos State's executive governor enjoys considerable support from his constituents, and for good reason: thanks to the no-nonsense former lawyer, Nigeria's commercial capital is experiencing a resurgence of sorts and is embarking on a number of groundbreaking projects including the city's new financial and commercial centre, Eko Atlantic, which is located on almost four square miles of land reclaimed from the Atlantic. Though Fashola belongs to an opposition party, his ability to govern, despite a sometimes hostile federal government, has enhanced his reputation and nationwide popularity. Many see him as a potential future federal president.


"There is a zero-tolerance for lawlessness. There is zero-tolerance for breach of our regulations and we are going to do more of this."

Macky Sall


Senegal welcomed its new president in 12 years after Macky Sall won a hotly contested election in April this year. The former prime minister gained the support of opposition parties during the second-round poll to win over 65% of the vote. His first day on the job involved the appointment of the highly respected technocrat, Abdoul Mbaye, as the country's new prime minister and in a move sure to appeal to the continent's growing democratic sensibilities, he promised to reverse his predecessor's seven-year term and return to a five-year term for office holders. He represents a new breed of leader and his success is vital in promoting a modern Africa throughout the world.


"Living costs are very, very high in Senegal while wages are low, and there are no jobs. We have to make sure public money is better spent."

Helen Zille


Not only is the former journalist-turned-political-heavyweight premier of the Western Cape, she is also leader of the Democratic Alliance, which remains the only real credible opposition to South Africa's ruling party, ANC. The 61-year-old, mother of two, rose to prominence following her expose into the death of the Black Consciousness Movement's leader Steve Biko. More recently she attempted to confront President Zuma at his newly refurbished $15m private residence in Nkandla, only to be turned away by the president's loyal supporters. Her combative approach, whilst sometimes self-harming, is also causing the odd sleepless night in Zumaville.


"Nkandla, a village on the hill, will become a monument to how corrupt a government became in a short time."

Francis Deng


Although having just completed his five-year term as UN Special Adviser to the secretary-general on the Prevention of Genocide, Deng has and will continue to play an important role in the fight for stability and peace on the continent. This seasoned diplomat has served as South Sudan's Ambassador to the United States, Sweden, Canada and Norway as well as finding time to author and edit over 40 scholarly texts. The 72-year-old is a real Juba heavyweight. Expect to see more from him on the international circuit as his country comes to terms with its newly gained independence.


"When you have countries where there are deep cleavages, in most cases the state is a party to the conflicts, so that instead of protecting their people, they neglect and persecute them, and these people have to look somewhere else and that means to the outside world."

Fatou Bensoutia


The new chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court has the unenviable task of transforming the much-maligned "global" institution into the custodian of international justice it was once hoped to be; however, having spent eight years in the Hague as the court's deputy prosecutor, it will be interesting to see if Bensouda is able--and willing--to make a significant departure from the often curious and sometimes dubious decisions of her controversial predecessor, Luis Moreno-Ocampo.


"As Africans we know that impunity is not an academic or abstract notion. This African commitment to ending impunity is a reality, and we have to find a way to focus our attention on it."

Kofi Annan right


With one of the most instantly recognisable faces in Africa--in addition to being one of the best-connected men on the continent--Kofi Annan justifies the moniker, Mr. Africa. Sitting on a number of influential boards, as well as launching the ambitious Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa project, Annan's ambitions have not dimmed since leaving the United Nations six years ago. Forever the diplomat, the 74-year-old remains a sought-after figure, becoming the "world's fireman" called to intervene in various global conflicts and issues. At home in Ghana, Annan has maintained a neutral stance in local politics to the admiration of all.


"Sometimes you don't have to pick a fight to get your way."

Akin Adesina


Akinwumi Adesina is the minister of agriculture and rural development of Nigeria and a renowned agricultural economist with over 20 years of experience in agricultural development policies and rural development. He has already started to leave his mark, tackling a number of vested interests and putting agriculture at the centre of Nigerian policy. He is determined to reduce the country's dependency on food imports and if he manages to transform a dysfunctional sector that lies at the heart of the economy, he will provide a template for other countries.


"My task is to make sure that Nigeria can feed itself with pride and to make sure that Nigeria does not become a dumping ground for food; we should be a net exporter of food."

Ngozi Okonjo-lweala above


Despite operating in a political minefield, Ngozi has driven through reforms and is sanitising the country's finances, nevertheless it has been a turbulent first year for Nigeria's powerful coordinating minister. The controversial fuel subsidy debacle--her brainchild--brought the country to a grinding halt and forced the government into a humbling retreat, and she has been unable to curb the country's long-standing intimacy with corruption. Her public defeat in this year's World Bank presidency bid may, however, be a blessing in disguise for her country, as she now has the opportunity to use her undoubted administrative abilities to find a solution to widespread poverty in the country. She remains a key spokesperson for Nigeria in particular and Africa at large.


"When I became finance minister, they called me Okonjo-Wahala--or 'Trouble Woman'."

Mohamed Morsi


If Tunisia is the laboratory for the transition to democracy and moderate Islam throughout the region, then Egypt remains the game changer for the Arab world. Former leader of the Muslim Brotherhood's Freedom and Justice Party, Morsi must work hard to placate the various factions in Egypt's post-Mubarak era--not least the Army generals still smarting at their recent devaluation. The US-educated academic's tenure as Egyptian president will shape the region's prospects for stability. Egypt's influence has been highlighted following events within the Gaza Strip, and expect further fireworks next year over the ever-contentious Nile issue.


"Egypt now is a real civil state. It is not theocratic, it is not military. It is democratic, free, constitutional, lawful and modern."

Jacob Zuma


As president of Africa's largest economy, no list of Africa's most influential people would be complete--or accurate--without the South African leader Jacob Zuma. Despite suffering a catalogue of crises, and a growing army of...

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