In a testament to the evolving landscape of Africa, The New African’s 100 Most Influential Africans of 2023 embraces a shift in trends and priorities.
As the continent navigates through the complexities of the post-pandemic era, this year’s list places creatives at the forefront, recognizing their profound impact on shaping the narrative and driving change.
According to bizcommunity.com, on the creative list is Tyla Laura Seethal who has a 2024 Grammy nomination for Best African Music Performance, and is the first South African to debut on the Billboard Hot 100, more than five decades after Hugh Masekela.
Joining her on the creative list is Black Coffee aka Nkosinathi Maphumulo, who most notably, on 7 October 2023 made history as the first South African DJ and producer to headline a sold-out show at New York City’s Madison Square Garden.
Fashion powerhouse Thebe Magugu, whose luxury fashion designs have become huge international sellers, and Pretty Yende, who since winning Placido Domingo’s famed Operalia World Opera competition in 2011, has seen an extraordinary rise to fame are also on the creative list.
Branko Brkic, founder of Daily Maverick, is named in the media sector. He is joined by Anton Harber, who retired from his post at the University of the Witwatersrand at the end of 2023 and is a distinguished South African journalist, media scholar, and influential figure in the realm of media and communication.
The Springboks team, under the leadership of captain Siya Kolisi, are named in the sports section as well as billionaire Patrice Motsepe, president of the Confederation of African Football (CAF).
The Business section features former CEO of Eskom and whistleblower André de Ruyter and Sim Tshabalala, CEO of Standard Bank.
Reflecting shifting trends in Africa
The list celebrates the achievements and contributions of Africans from various fields and sectors who have made a positive impact on the continent and the world.
The list features a diverse and inspiring group of men and women, who have demonstrated excellence, innovation, leadership, resilience, and vision in their respective domains.
They include politicians, entrepreneurs, industrialists, environmentalists, creatives, scientists, educators, sports personalities, and more.
The list also reflects the shifting trends and priorities in Africa, as the continent faces new challenges and opportunities in the post-pandemic era.
Creatives dominate the ranking with 31 representatives, including singer Abel Tesfaye, aka The Weekend, filmmaker Alice Diop and writer Nana Darkoa Sekyiamah.
The second category with the highest number of entries was the Business section, with 25 entries.
The section included two behemoths from DFIs, supporting a private sector approach to investing: Samaila Zubairu from Africa Finance Corporation and the President of Afreximbank, Benedict Oramah, undoubtedly Africa’s juggernaut from the last few years leading Africa’s transformation.
Nigeria most represented
Nigeria was the country most represented on the list, highlighting the country’s dominance in the creative sector and business.
William Ruto, the President of Kenya, and Bola Tinubu, President of Nigeria, were the only heads of state to make it, along with the Guinean military leader Mamady Doumbouya.
Doumbouya created quite a stir at this year’s UN General Assembly and appears to have found a solution to the Simandou mining saga.
With Climate Change at the top of the agenda, the list features several players in the environmental space, such as James Mwangi, formerly from Dalberg Group who has set up his venture fund investing in climate-related businesses, and Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, the executive secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.
There are two media leaders from Côte d’Ivoire, Fabrice Sawegnon, founder of communications agency Voodoo, and Daniel Ahaoussa, serial entrepreneur and founder of several websites in West and Central Africa. Also included is the BBC journalist Alan Kasujja.
In sports, record breakers Faith Kipyegon and Kelvin Kiptum are also named.
The 100 Most Influential Africans of 2023 is a special edition of New African magazine, which offers a comprehensive and insightful overview of the lives and achievements of the selected individuals.
The magazine also provides a platform for the readers to learn from their stories, and to be inspired by their examples.