The Five most influential Africans 2020 - Dateline Africa
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The Five most influential Africans 2020

The Five most influential Africans 2020

25 Dec 2020

(London, UK )

Compiled by Daniel Benson, Reginald Owusu, Uche Obafemi

Contributing writers, Lifestyle-Dateline Africa News

Like Shakespeare wrote about the greatness in one of his classic plays , Macbeth, “Some were born great, while others had greatness thrust upon them”.

I am not sure that where these 5 Africans we have featured in this piece belong into the greatness chart; we leave you to figure it out. One thing remains unambiguous they belong to different but are all great the same.

Yes, they are people, they are great Africans.

We have selected them from different strata of society. Each one has contributed immensely to influencing Africans in various ways and the World as a whole.

At Dateline, we expect our selection of the five most influential Africans to generate talk.

The year 2020 has been tough for everyone. The year would go down as the year where the world finally awoke to the enormity of climate change. In the meantime, we adapted to reality, turning living rooms into offices and classrooms.

Africa wasn’t spared into this psychodrama of 2020, it’s economies were ravaged by the pandemic.

Covid brought about new casualness,a new style of fashion where we have to wear a mask to mitigate the spread of the deadly virus.

A handshake was banished, and so too, were hugs. It wasn’t a pleasant year.

Nonetheless , these five Africans made a huge influence in the year 2020.


1.Strive Masiyiwa

He has been called a maverick, “charismatic and controversial”, and “Africa’s Warren Buffett”. He is building a reputation as a philanthropist, with moves such as an offer to pay Zimbabwean doctors out of his own pocket.

He fought Robert Mugabe, and a number of other governments and huge corporations, to build a continent-spanning telecommunications business.
But from this week onwards, Strive Masiyiwa’s future biographies are likely to give pride of place to his role as a director of Netflix, and not only because it is such a household name.

Masiyiwa is the first African to find a place at the Netflix table, and one of very few Africans in charge of the American mega-corporations dominating online entertainment and communication across so much of the world

Masiyiwa’s first foray into business was an engineering firm, Retrofit, which he founded in 1986 (with a bank loan from Barclays that came with the condition that he get rid of his flashy car).

By the time he sold it, 80% of its business was with the Zimbabwean state, by Masiyiwa’s account.

That provided the financial basis for him to launch an epic half-decade legal battle against the government of Zimbabwe, which became a literal case study, for the right to launch a private mobile phone company in that country.

In 2019 – before massive swings in equity values and currencies brought by the pandemic – Masiyiwa was ranked the 9th richest black person in the world.

With a net worth then estimated at $1.7 billion, he was declared Zimbabwe’s first-ever dollar billionaire by Forbes in 2018

2.Burna Boy 

Damini Ebunoluwa Ogulu (born 2 July 1991), known professionally as Burna Boy, is a Nigerian singer, songwriter, rapper and dancer.
Since he released his debut album LIFE in 2013 via Aristokrat Records in his home country of Nigeria, Burna Boy has become one of the most in-demand musicians on the planet, collaborating with Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith, Wizkid, Damian Marley and many more.

In 2019, he won Best International Act at the 2019 BET Awards, and was announced as an Apple Music Up Next artist.
His fourth studio album African Giant was released in July 2019; it won Album of the Year at the 2019 All Africa Music Awards and was nominated for Best World Music Album at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards.

He was awarded the African Artiste of the year at the 2020 VGMA’s.

In 2020, his album Twice as Tall was nominated for the same category at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, making him the first Nigerian with back-to-back nominations at the Grammys.

He is one of the most prominent African artists.

3.Tidjane Thiam 

Tidjane Thiam was the Chief Executive Officer of Credit Suisse Group AG from 2015 to 2020. Prior to this role, he was Group Chief Executive of Prudential plc from 2009 to 2015, having also served that company as a Director from 2008 to 2015 and as Chief Financial Officer from 2008 to 2009.

Previously, Mr. Thiam served in a variety of leadership roles at Aviva from 2002 to 2008, holding successively the positions of Group Strategy and Development Director, Managing Director of Aviva International, Group Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, Europe, and serving as a Director in 2007.
Mr. Thiam joined Aviva in 2002 from McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, where he was a partner. From 1994 to 1999, he was successively CEO of the National Bureau for Technical Studies and Development, and Secretary of Development and Planning at Côte d’Ivoire.

Mr. Thiam served as Chairman of the Board of the Association of British Insurers from 2012 to 2014.
He is a chevalier of the French Legion of Honor and a member of the 21st Century Fox board of Directors since November 2014.

Mr Thiam is a graduate from the École Polytechnique in Paris and the École Nationale Supérieure des Mines de Paris and holds an MBA from Insead, with distinction

4.Afua Hirsch

Afua Hirsch was born in Stavanger, Norway, to a British father and an Akan mother from Ghana, and was raised in Wimbledon, southwest London.

Her paternal grandfather, Hans (later John), who was Jewish, had fled Berlin in 1938. Her great-uncle is the metallurgist Sir Peter Hirsch. Her maternal grandfather, who graduated from the University of Cambridge, was involved in establishing the post-independence education system in Ghana but later became a political exile.
Hirsch was educated at the private Wimbledon High School and then studied philosophy, politics, and economics at St Peter’s College, Oxford (1999–2002).

After her graduation with a Bachelor of Arts degree, she took the Graduate Diploma in Law at the BPP Law School. She qualified as a barrister in 2006 and trained at Doughty Street Chambers.
Afua Hirsch is a best selling author and broadcaster, a promoter of fashion and influential voice on identity, belonging and self-expression.

She has worked as a journalist for The Guardian newspaper and as the Social Affairs and Education Editor for Sky News until 2017.

In August 2017 Afua sparked outrage after calling for Nelson’s Column to be removed and branding Lord Nelson a “white supremacist”.
Many people reacted with fury after an article in The Guardian suggested it could be time to “look at our own landscape” in the wake of a spate of statues being removed in the US.
Writing in the paper, Afua said the monument in London’s Trafalgar Square should be felled because the Admiral “defended slavery”.
In the article titled: “Toppling statues? Here’s why Nelson’s Column should be next”, she claimed the man who helped defeat Napoleon was “what you would call now, without hesitation, a white supremacist”.

5.Stephanie Busari

Stephanie Busari is a journalist and editor at CNN Worldwide. She heads up CNN’s Nigeria bureau where she pioneered CNN’s first digital and multiplatform bureau. She also reports on-air for CNN International and led the network’s 2019 Nigeria presidential election coverage. Stephanie oversees CNN Africa’s digital editorial and operational strategy, crafting a new narrative for Africa and chronicling the continent’s changemakers and innovators.

In April 2016 Stephanie exclusively obtained the ‘proof of life’ video that showed that the missing Chibok schoolgirls were still alive. This video kickstarted crucial negotiation talks with Boko Haram that led to the eventual release of more than 100 of the kidnapped schoolgirls. She was also an instrumental member of the CNN team that won a Peabody Award in May 2015 for the network’s coverage of the missing Nigerian schoolgirls. Stephanie won a Hollywood Gracie Award in 2017 for her persistence in covering this story and is also a previous recipient of the Outstanding Woman in the Media Awards.

A passionate and adept public speaker, Stephanie is regularly invited to share her insights and moderate panels; she has spoken at TEDGlobal, UN Women, Said Business School, Oxford, and UNESCO among others.

References: Forbes,Investopedia,Yale Edu,The Sun Newspaper,The Guardian ,CNN

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