Power and influence are one of the things we as humans strive for throughout our lives. Africa has been blessed with a crop of influential people whom we celebrate today. These are powerful people. And they have created a reputation for themselves in their respective fields and gained the love and admiration of Africa and the world at large. 

We have outlined them based on categories starting from religion we have Rev. Dr Chris Oyakhilome and Sheikh Ismail Ibn Musa Menk.

From Governance and Politics, we have Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo and Cyril Ramaphosa.

In the area of entertainment, we have the renowned David Adedeji Adeleke (Davido).

Journalism has Anas Aremeyaw Anas while Tidjane Thiam and Aliko Dangote top the Banking, Business and Finance field.

We conclude with Arts and Literature where Touria El Glaoui and Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie are the top influential people in Africa.

Religion

Rev. Dr Chris Oyakhilome

All foundation is laid on Jesus Christ. God’s Love for us through Jesus Christ has inspired a lot of Great Men and Women all through the ages to further the Gospel.

All those who further the Gospel of Jesus Christ are winners. Rev. Dr Chris Oyakhilome is one of them. Due to his reach and influence with the Gospel in Africa, he is among our Top 10 Most Influential People in Africa.

You can write a book about the most influential religious leader in Africa right now, Rev. Dr Chris Oyakhilome (D.Sc, D.D), a native of Nigeria. 

He is the President of the Believers Loveworld, one of the most growing churches in the World.

Popularly known as Pastor Chris, he started pioneering Loveworld aka Christ Embassy in 1987.

Pastor Chris is the author of so many books. These books include How to make your Faith work, Join this Chariot, the Power of the Mind, None of These Diseases, How to Pray effectively and etc.

Furthermore, Pastor Chris is also the author of Rhapsody of Realities also known as the “Messenger Angel“.  The number one daily devotional in the world. It is distributed freely across Africa and the world at large.

Chris is the founder of Future Africa Leaders Foundation (FALA). FALA is aimed at exploring and expanding the potential in Africa and for Africa. It identifies, supports and celebrates young Africans who have demonstrated exemplary leadership. It spots young people who have impacted their generation positively. This could be through education, youth empowerment and preparing them for a Positive Future. The organisation is under the auspices of the Chris Oyakhilome Foundation, which helps the poor and those in need at low-income cities across the world.

Rev. Dr Chris Oyakhilome influence

Billboard Christian Songwriter Sinach and Frank Edwards have been influenced by his teachings.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, Pastor Chris organised a Global Day of Prayer. The prayer attracted more than 3 billion online participants. As seen in the National Daily Newspaper. He also had online programs with ministers around the world in which more than 3 million ministers participated. 

All these and many more show how influential he is when it comes to the Furtherance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Africa and the world at large. 

Sheikh Ismail Ibn Musa Menk

Be careful of how you treat others… a statement made by The Grand Mufti of Zimbabwe, Ismail Ibn Musa Menk.  The most influential person in Africa of the Islamic Region. A scholar born and raised in Zimbabwe. Popularly known as Mufti Menk.

Mufti Menk is a part of the Islamic Movement called Salafi. A doctrine based on the early years of the Muslim religion and faith, when Islam was at its unadulterated form.

Considered as one of the Most Influential Muslims in the world since 2010. He gives motivational lectures. He often focuses on everyday life, struggle, love, loss and everything in between through an Islamic lens. 

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His ability to relate religious principles to contemporary settings has made him particularly influential amongst the Muslim youth. His eloquence and humour have endeared him to many non-Muslims as well. This has given him a large influence on all social media platforms.

Mufti Menk uses his influence to propose peace, justice and a stem opposition to terrorism. He is also against the conflict between Christianity and Islam due to the ideology of both parties stemming from Adam. 

Government & Politics

His Excellency Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo-Addo

He is a Ghanaian Politician who is the incumbent President of the Republic of Ghana. He is also the current chairman of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). 

Once The Attorney General of Ghana, He ran for the Presidential Position for two different periods before finally winning at his third go. He has now been given the opportunity to continue his good work.

This can show Nana Addo is a man of tenacity and someone the people regardless of how difficult it has been, now trust. His Influence to get a better Ghana, a better Africa has been established. After years in school in Ghana and overseas, He is also a bar ordained lawyer – The English bar and the Ghanaian bar.

He has always been one who fought for human rights. Once a part of Alliance for Change that organised demonstrations against neo-liberal policies, He also formed a civil rights organisation called Ghana’s Committee on Human and People’s Rights. Recently, he was a part of a campaign with a cry that “all people everywhere must have free access to the Covid-19 vaccine when one becomes available.”

A man of peace and exemplary leadership. He has received honours with respect to said attributes. Most notably, in 2018, he was presented with the Outstanding Leader’s Award in recognition of regional, diplomatic, and economic leadership in Africa. This award was given by the U.S. Africa Business Centre of the United States Chamber of Commerce.

A man with a vision. He is man with the power of ECOWAS behind him. A man of influence.

His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa

Being in TIME Magazine is not a feat taken lightly. Being on TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential List means you have changed the world for better or worse. This is a feat the incumbent President of South Africa, His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa achieved in 2019.

A bar acclaimed Lawyer. A businessman. One of South Africa’s richest men who made his first mark as a trade union leader. He is one of the pillars on which South Africa went out of apartheid.

Ramaphosa is the founder of Shanduka Group. An African owned and managed investment holding company with ties to Telecom, energy, property and financial services.

He was the Executive Chairman of MTN Group and Mondi PLC and sits on the International Advisory Board of Coca Cola & Unilever. He is also the first deputy chairman of the Commonwealth Business Council.  

South Africa, probably the most powerful country in Africa, had an enormous structural problem. In 2018, Cyril was trusted as a reformer who will steer the country away from the corruption scandals that have hurt the economy.

He dedicated half portion of his salary as President so as to encourage the wealthy to do the same to help build the nation. 

As said in New African Magazine, whether he is dispatching peace envoys to war countries, addressing the UN on multilateralism, or pushing the cause of Africa as the current Chairperson of the African Union (AU), his effect is unparalleled.

Entertainment

David Adedeji Adeleke (Davido)

David Adedeji Adeleke popular known as Davido is a Nigerian Artist. 

To follow someone on social media means you can be and are influenced by the person one way or another. With a social media following of at least 27 million on Instagram and Twitter, he is the most influential entertainer in Africa. 

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With a father figure considered to be one of the richest men in Nigeria, his influence has no links to it. He is arguably one of the biggest artists in Africa.

His notoriety and fame is something that has grown over the years. Through his hit songs such as aye, if, skelewu etc. he has had a huge influence on the entertainment of Africans. His hit song Fall with the famous line Money fall on You, Banana fall on you… is one for the ages. He has collaborated with artists from different parts of the world. Ranging from Sarkodie, Nasty C, Uhuru, Rae Sremmurd to Nicki Minaj.

Davido has a record deal with the infamous Sony Music. Also, He has a record label that produces music for people to jam to. His influence is one that cannot be taken for granted. Winning The Best International Act on the BET Awards is not an easy feat. He used that platform to invite patrons and Americans to come to experience the beauty of Africa. 

His music is centred on life. His lyrics have caused people to approach love without fears. 

Journalism

Anas Aremeyaw Anas

Anas Aremeyaw Anas can almost be considered a Pseudonym. But, one thing is for sure, The Watchman as he is called exists. 

A descendant of Ghana, The Watchman is the most influential journalist in Africa.

An investigative journalist whose work focuses primarily on issues of human rights abuse and corruption. He is on a personal mission to name, shame and jail abusers.

Just to mention a few,  The Most Influential Young Ghanaian award for two years is under his belt. New African’s  Most Influential Young Africans award is under his belt. According to IFEX, he is probably Africa’s most popular investigative journalist. The public feeds insatiably at His published works. 

Anas currently works as a reporter for Al Jazeera. Investigating and making documentaries to bring about change in the system. Under the Africa Investigates project, Anas has so far produced over ten (10) award-winning investigative documentaries across the continent.

His most influential work is The Number 12. A documentary exposing how deep corruption sleeps in African Football. This documentary led to the dismissal of footballing stakeholders in more than 10 countries in Africa. 

Throughout the years, he has embarked on a lot of works that have instigated change in institutions. He has promised not to stop. As quoted in an IFEX article on him, this will not stop. I’m going to carry on with this kind of journalism because I know that when evil men destroy, good men must build and bind.

Banking & Finance

Tidjane Thiam

He is a French-Ivorian Banker. One who served in Cote D’Ivoire as the Chief Executive for the National Bureau of Technical Studies. Mr Thiam has also worked in the British Banking Group, Prudential as the Chief Financial Officer & its CEO.

In 2011, He was awarded the rank of Chevalier of the Légion d’honneur by the French Government for his contribution to civil life.

He had never worked in a bank until his appointment, in 2015, as the chief executive of Credit Suisse. An African who had not studied economics or anything to do with finance but maths and physics. With no experience to show in finance other than Managerial duties in projects for His country, Cote d’Ivoire.

African Business says in Tidjane Thiam – The fall of a Legend, He’s gone down due to His resignation as the CEO of Credit Suisse. But, due to the huge increase he brought during his tenure to the Bank, he is still trusted. He was recruited by Rwanda to promote the new financial centre of Kigali, joining the board of Rwanda Finance Limited. He is the African Union’s Special Envoy on Covid 19.

Thiam, who has been on the board of directors of the world’s third-largest luxury goods company, Kering of France, since June, is also a member of the “Group of 30”.

He is now the new guardian of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, initiated by Pope Francis, which brings together some twenty world business leaders. Wanting to emphasize the moral dimensions of economic life in order to promote Integral Human Development.

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His influence in banking & finance might seem to be dwindling. But, he is still the master strategist in banking and finance.

Aliko Dangote

Money is the answer to all things. There is no one in Africa who can answer all things like Aliko Dangote. A native of Nigeria. He is the Money Man of Africa. Money has a humongous amount of influence. The Money Man controls that influence. 

He is the founder, chairperson and majority shareholder of Dangote Cement. The largest cement producer in sub-Saharan Africa & a publicly-traded company. The Money Man also owns stakes in some publicly-traded manufacturing companies. The Money Man is never idle. He is in the process of completing a Dangote Oil Refinery. One of the world’s largest. 

The Money Man is an entrepreneur at his core with a Business Degree. He describes his journey as exciting. He is not immune to challenges. But, He overcomes those challenges by looking at the bigger picture and using innovative approaches. He embraces the idea of You have to dream big to be able to be big… 

He is a humanitarian. As quoted in Forbes, He’d like to be remembered for the things he actually did. He also believes in making Africa great. Because only Africans can make Africa great. 

Money Man is one of the main job providers in Africa. With a plan of injecting more financial aid to the agricultural and Gas & Oil sectors of African countries, his influence is matched by none.

Art & Literature

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

When it comes to writing, we have a plethora of writers. From Zukisewa Wanner, Namwani Sarpell, Wole Soyinka, Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi to Tsitsi Dangaremba etc. However, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is the Winner of Winners.

She is the most influential writer in Africa. As seen in New African Magazine, Chimamanda is an icon. Born in Nigeria, her father was a professor at the University of Nigeria and her mother was the first female registrar of the institution. 

Her works which are about religion, family, politics, raising class, gender and race-related issues have all received critical acclaim. The Nigerian author for the past years has set out to change the negative and simplistic narrative of Africans. She is a global icon of feminism. As a feminist, her writings deal with the experiences and representations of women.

As said in New African Magazine, where she is chosen as one of the Top 100 most influential Africans. Her novels have become bestsellers throughout the world. They show a multilayered, complex and fascinating Africa bursting with exciting and original stories.

Touria El Glaoui

As described in New African Magazine Top 100 Influential Persons in Africa, Touria El Glaoui is the Indefatigable Champion of African Art.

A descent of Morocco, who is not an artist herself but a businesswoman. However, she has contributed to the rise of African art in international circles. Helping give African art a global voice.

She is the founding director of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair. The title 1-54 reflects one continent and its 54 countries. An art fair dedicated to contemporary art from the African Diaspora. As its director, Touria has independently acquired resources for the platform. Done via fundraising, grant writing, and scholarship. She has formed firm partnerships with leading institutions, corporate sponsors, and educational entities across Europe and Africa. 

She has been listed on Forbes 100 most powerful women in Africa. And the 100 most influential Africans in business by New African Magazine.

Her platform has been used to create awareness between Artists of the need to share resources in order to enhance development.

With her influence, She is helping put African Art on the world scene. She is also creating new opportunities for artists from the continent.

The African art market has increased through her influence. With a good increase of more than $20m in the past few years. 

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