10 Most Influential People In Africa

By Florence Gaitho on April 5 2014

Africa is the 2nd-largest continent in the world, covering about 30 million square kilometers. Sadly, it is not only the world’s most underdeveloped continent, but it is also the poorest out of the 7 continents in the world. Africa has a continental GDP that accounts for only 2.4 per cent of global GDP. 

Even so, there are some Africans, from human rights activists and politicians, to authors and musicians, who have beat the odds and managed to acquire not just money and fame, but power and respect as well. The following are the 10 most influential people in Africa: - 

Nelson Mandela (South Africa)

Even though he is resting in peace now, this list would not be complete without him in it. Nelson Mandela has been one of the most influential people not just in Africa, but in the world as well. He served as the President of South Africa from the year 1994 to 1999. He was not only a politician, but he was also an anti-apartheid revolutionary and philanthropist. Mandela has been depicted in television and cinema on numerous occasions, and many artists, both local and international, have dedicated songs to him. He died on December 5, 2013 aged 95. 

Chinua Achebe (Nigeria)

Chinua Achebe is undoubtedly one of the most renowned authors in the world. He authored the famous book “Things Fall Apart”, which has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. The book has been translated into over 50 other languages, and has been studied by scholars from many parts of the world. He served as a professor at the Brown University, and he was also known to be an astute political critic.

Aliko Dangote (Nigeria)

Considering that Aliko is currently the world’s richest black man, he definitely is a very influential man in the black continent. Forbes Magazine currently ranks him as the richest person in Africa and the 23rd richest person in the world.

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria)

This is yet another world renowned author, who was the first in the African continent to be awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. The book titled “The Strong Breed” is one of the most notable of his works. Soyinka has published over 20 plays and books.

Youssou N’dour (Senegal)

N’dour is another living legend from the African Continent, who played a fundamental role in popularizing Mbalax, which is a traditional Western African music style.  He currently serves as an ambassador of UNICEF.

Didier Drogba (Cote D’Ivoire)

Besides being a world renowned footballer, Didier Drogba is considered to be a legend in his motherland, Africa, and more so in his country, Cote D’Ivoire. The 33-year old striker has demonstrated strength in leadership not just on the pitch, but off it as well. Drogba played a vital role in putting civil wars in Cote D’Ivoire to an end in 2006. 

Akon (Senegal)

Akon is a world renowned singer from Senegal, who currently resides in the United States.  He has released a total of 3 albums that have managed to sell platinum. He is the owner of Konvict Record Label, Konfidence Foundation, and the Konvict Clothing line. He has been a great inspiration to many youths from Africa and beyond.  

Komla Dumor (Ghana)

Dumor has been one of the highly-esteemed presenters of “Focus on Africa” and BBC World News, and had substantial influence on how the African continent is covered. In 2013, New African Magazine named him one of the “100 Most Influential Africans”. He unfortunately died of cardiac arrest on January 18, 2014. 

Sangare (Mali)

There are a number of remarkable women in Africa that have made such a huge impact to the society, and Sangare is undoubtedly one of them. This 43-year old musician has played a crucial role in the fight for human rights through her lyrics. She is also an entrepreneur and currently serves an ambassador of UN.

Yvonne Chaka Chaka (South Africa)

Yvonne, popularly referred to as the “Princess of Africa”, is among the most respected and renowned people in the South African music industry. She has in the past won a number of Grammy Awards for her music. She is currently the Goodwill ambassador for UN in South Africa.

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Florence Gaitho is a Kenyan Citizen and saying that she likes writing would be an understatement. She is a passionate writer and writing has always been her first love. Florence studied at Mount Kenya University, where she attained a Bachelor of Arts Degree. She has been a professional web content/blog/article writer since 2011, and has written articles on diverse fields. 

"If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants." Isaac Newton

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