The magazine considers people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling so that their effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others.
The annual report sees different categories including politics and public service; business and finance; civil society and activism; education; science, technology and innovation; media; arts and culture; and sport – profiles both continental and Diasporan Africans nominated by their peers and industry insiders.
Kagame is among three Heads of State made it to the list. Others are Ghana’s Nana Akufo-Addoand President Alpha Conde of Guinea.
Nigeria’s Vice President YemiOsinbajo also made the list in the Politics and Public Service category for how he served as a safe pair of hands during President Buhari’s enforced absence for most part of 2017.
For the first time since the magazine began publishing this acclaimed end-of-year list five years ago, the 2017 list features 42 women out of the hundred, the highest number of female entries so far.
With 21 entries, Nigeria tops the nominations, closely followed by South Africa which scored 14 names. In total the list includes entries from 31 countries including 12 Francophone Africa.
Popular new entries include the Triplets Ghetto Kids dance troop from Uganda and Ghanaian born new Editor of British Vogue Edward Kobina Enninful, as well as new heavyweight boxing sensation Nigerian-British Anthony Joshua.
Leading business magnates AlikoDangote (Nigeria), Mohammed Dewji (Tanzania) make a return on the Business and Finance category, which also sees two names that have been media fodder this year, Angola’s Isabel dos Santos and Jean-Claude Bastos de Morais. This year also has more French and Arab speaking entries in this category.
However, perhaps as a sign of shifting interests and changing times in Africa, the Arts and Culture showbiz section has the highest number of entries and most of the new names. Making a return in this category is Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie, who is joined by fresh faces such as Adwoa Aboah and the refreshing Hijab wearing Somali top model Halima Aden.
Surfacing in the Civic society and Activism category is a new breed of activists including those fighting for the routinely ignored yet important rights of people with disabilities in Africa. Nigeria’s Eros Ikponwosa – herself affected by albinism makes the list for her work with the UN Human Rights Commission in highlight the plight of people with albinism. With the raw and heartrending recent exposé of Libya’s Africans slave-trade, the entry of Mauritania’s anti-slavery hero Biram Dah Abeid in this category, is poignant.
“Our criteria for “influential” this year was a fairly simple one – it is applied to people whose work or activity has had some sort of transformative effect outside their main calling. This effect results in a change of perception or provides inspiration to others. Many in our selection have shattered the proverbial glass-ceilings or disability stigma and do so with great bravery, determination and personal sacrifice. Others yield economic power that impacts world markets,” explains AnverVersi, the magazine’s Editor.
“African talent in the arts, culture, sports and technology has also has a huge impact on changing the world’s perception towards Africa and its people,” he adds.