Africa has continued to produce lots of great and remarkable leaders. Many of them have come and gone but their memories live on. However, a lot of these great men and women of African descent handling public positions are still here with us, waxing strong in their various leadership positions. We cannot help but make mention of as well as laud them. According to the New African Magazine, influence in this context is not only on the positive aspect but also on the negative.
These heroes and heroines have in one way or the other lent Africa greater prominence through their various remarkable moves and achievements which have either moved Africa forwards or backwards. But never mind, a greater number of them are worthy of commendation as their heroic acts promoted Africa’s well-being in tremendous ways.
1. Abdel Fattah El-sisi – Egyptian President
Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi, born 19 November 1954 is the sixth and current President of Egypt, and has been in office since June 8, 2014. He resigned from the military on 26th March 2014 in order to run for the post of the president. Among other remarkable achievements is Abdel’s fight against terrorism that threatens the security and stability of the Arab region. He succeeded in stopping the eruption of a civil war in Egypt after the ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi. The new Egyptian president is driving forward the much-needed economic reforms in the country and is seen by the West as a moderate force in the region. He also came 51st in Forbes 2014 list of World’s Most Outstanding Individuals.
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2. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Liberian President
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (born 29 October 1938) is the 24th and current President of Liberia. Sirleaf is the first elected female president both in Africa and the whole world. She assumed the position of Liberian president in 2006 and was re-elected in 2011. She is known for peaceful, non-violent fight for women’s rights and safety. For this reason, she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.
In 2013, she got the Indira Gandhi Prize from the Indian President, Pranab Mukherjee. She also ranked 70th and 96th in Forbes list of Most Powerful Women in the World in the years 2014 and 2015 respectively. Her leadership as the president of Liberia has really made world history because it takes a woman of valour to attain the heights she has attained. She once said that if your dreams do not scare you, then they’re not big enough!
3. Kofi Atta Annan – Ghanaian Diplomat
I need not say much about popular Kofi Atta Annan, a man who has made indelible marks in the history of Africa and the world. Kofi is a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. It happened on the evening of December 13, 1996 that Annan was named Secretary General of the United Nations – making him the first black African to hold the post. His achievements which landed him in this list are too numerous to mention. Annan and the United Nations were the co-recipients of the 2001 Nobel Peace Prize “for their work for a better organized and more peaceful world. After the September 2001 terrorist attacks on the US, he played a crucial role in stimulating the General Assembly and the Security Council to take actions for combating terrorism. He is now 77 years old.
4. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – Nigerian Finance Minister
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala is a globally renowned Nigerian economist best known for her two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria and for her work at the World Bank, including several years as one of its Managing Directors (October 2007 – July 2011). She briefly held the position of the Nigerian Minister of Foreign Affairs in 2006. She is 61 years old.
Okonjo-Iweala has helped the country’s economy, the largest in Africa, grow an average of 6% (per annum) over three years. She is credited with developing reform programs that helped improve governmental transparency and stabilizing the economy. She is the first woman to be the finance minister and the foreign minister of the West African country with a GDP of $502 billion. She was named by Forbes as the 44th and 48th Most Powerful Women in the World in the years 2014 and 2015 respectively.
5. Uhuru Kenyatta – Kenyan President
Uhuru Kenyatta is the fourth and the current President of Kenya, and has been in office since 9 April 2013. He was born on 26th October, 1961. Looking at the current criminal charges against President Uhuru for which he is yet to be tried, one would conclude he should not have made this list, and even if he does, it shouldn’t be on a good note. But on the contrary, he emerged one of Africa’s most influential leaders for the singular act of combining political shrewdness and the power of a suave public relations machine to overshadow his pending trial for international crimes at The Hague.
Mr Kenyatta made it to the exclusive list for successfully employing a smart political strategy that has turned Africa against the International Criminal Court (ICC) and away from the serious crimes he is accused of committing during Kenya’s 2007 General Election. The report adds that Mr Kenyatta has “reframed his case as being about the dignity and sovereignty of Kenya and more broadly Africa, rather than about the political violence following the disputed 2007 election.”
6. Obiageli Ezekwesili – Nigerian Woman Activist
Obiageli Ezekwesili is a Nigerian chartered accountant, a 52 year-old woman of no mean reputation. She has held the positions of the Nigerian Minister of Solid Minerals and Minister of Education respectively. Ezekwesili, one of the founders of Transparency International, serving as one of the pioneer directors of the global anti-corruption body based in Berlin, Germany used her voice to speak up for those who could not, as she demanded “#BringbackOurGirls”. She is actually the founder of the BringBackOurGirls Campaign. It is her continuous undying and selfless activism towards the recovery of the over 200 schoolgirls abducted by the Nigerian militant group – Boko Haram that was mostly acknowledged by The New African Magazine.The magazine noted that slowly but surely, this message went viral and the world began to listen.