Lifesavers and creatives top New African magazine’s 100 Most Influential Africans list

PUBLISHED: Tue, 08 Dec 2020 11:24:45 GMT

Content provided by APO Group. CNBC Africa provides content from APO Group as a service to its readers, but does not edit the articles it publishes. CNBC Africa is not responsible for the content provided by APO Group.

New African magazine ( honours men and women who had a significant impact in their different fields; Physicians, scientists and epidemiologists who wrestled with the Covid-19 monster in do-or-die struggles, feature significantly in this year’s list; They are joined by actors, comedians, writers, producers and musicians who made 2020 more bearable thanks to much-needed entertainment; The list is broken down into Leaders, Pathfinders, Creatives and Icons; Female and non-binary artists and writers dominate the Creatives category; South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana make for nearly half of the laureates with 47 entries but many more countries such as Zimbabwe, Zambia and Sudan feature on the list.

The much anticipated annual listing of the 100 Most Influential Africans of 2020 published by the continent’s premier pan-African publication, London-based New African magazine appears in the December issue, on general sale this week.

The format of the listing this time has been simplified into four categories allowing for a more flexible and more inclusive range of entries: Leaders; Pathfinders; Creatives; and Icons.

In a year dominated by Covid-19 and lockdowns, the spotlight this time turns on the African medical and scientific community which has done sterling and in many cases pioneering work to combat the pandemic.

As Africa remains the least impacted region in the world by the virus, several public health heroes make list, including Nigeria’s‘virus detective’ Chikwe Ihekweazu, and vaccine expert Moroccan Moncef Slaoui who was appointed chief advisor to US Operation Warp Speed to organise vaccine production and distribution.

In tandem, there is a splurge of world-class output from Africa’s writers, actors and actresses, producers, artists, dancers, chefs, fashionistas and presenters with many of them winning prestigious international awards.

For example, making the list is globally-acclaimed Nigerian writer and activist Chimanda Ngozi Adichie whose bestselling novel Half of a Yellow Sun was voted ‘Winner of Winners’ at the 2020 Women's Prize for Fiction; as well as Zambian Namwali Serpell whose debut novel has won the Arthur. C Clarke award for science fiction. In music, South Africa’s Master KG song Jerusalema the most Shazamed song of all time, has become a global hit bringing joy to millions around the world. 

Although English-speaking countries still dominate the 2020 listing with 76% of all entries, representation of Arabic, French and Portuguese-speaking countries make up a sizeable 24%.

As has been traditional, the Most Influential Africans of 2020 list also features a host of acclaimed leaders in commerce, industry and sport, who have made a mark in their various fields of expertise.

The December issue of New African is available on newsstands in 75 countries and via the app store and the magazine’s digital channels.

To read this month’s edition and our full archives shop at:

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of New African Magazine.

Media Contact: +44 (0) 20 7841 3210

About the 100 Most Influential: New African magazine’s Most Influential 100 is the oldest and definitive annual listing of Africa’s most influential people. It is the most diverse list in terms of breadth and people. This year features 36 women, 1 non-binary and 63 men. This is the most men for a number of years since it reached parity two years ago. There are 24 Nigerians on the list, 15 South Africans, 8 Ghanaians, 6 from Cameroon and 5 from Zimbabwe, Ethiopia and Uganda.

Arts and Culture has the most entries with 30 men and women selected. Politics and Public Service has 23 entries and Business and Finance 15. Science, Tech and Innovation come in with 9 entries.

About New African: New African ( is the best-selling international pan-African news magazine. New African brings an African perspective to international reporting on the continent. With over 50 years as the biggest-selling pan-African magazine in English, New African delivers the best features and commentary on Africa and its people.

About IC Publications: IC Publications ( is a media and communications group focusing exclusively on the African continent. It is driven by a mission to help shape the African agenda and to contribute to the continent’s socio and economic growth and development. The group, through its various platforms, has become one of the world’s leading sources of analysis and debate on African political and economic issues. Through a variety of platforms and services including: magazines, digital media and international events, IC Publications delivers unparalleled coverage and cutting-edge content on the latest developments in Africa.

Sign Up for Our Newsletter Daily Update
Get the best of CNBC Africa sent straight to your inbox with breaking business news, insights and updates from experts across the continent.
Get this delivered to your inbox, and more info about about our products and services. By signing up for newsletters, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.