Welcome once again to what you have told us is your most anticipated feature of the year – our annual 100 Most Influential Africans of 2022 list.
The New African listing has now become firmly established as the most authoritative, respected and consulted list on the continent and in the diaspora. Those who appear on this list will no doubt enjoy the adulation that is their due because of their own activities and we hope the stories of the people who have made it onto this list will act as a powerful incentive to others to also want to join them in the future. It is time to wind up the last year and review its highs and lows for all of us, as well as the continent as a whole. This was the first full year when for most of us, the constant threat of Covid was lifted – although it still lingers in nooks and crannies and the danger is not altogether past.
However, its effects still linger and for many across the continent, it has been belt-tightening time. For many of our brothers and sisters the year continued to have tragic consequences as the conflicts in Ethiopia, the Sahel, Sudan and Southern Sudan and pockets of central Africa continued to take lives and ruin livelihoods. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to all who have suffered loss and we pray for blessed peace to come to these troubled places.
Our thoughts and prayers also go out to those of your fellow Africans who are being pushed to the limit by droughts and floods. But it is very heartening to see that many powerful and influential Africans – both those in high office and in more humble positions – have been fighting hard in international fora for Africa to get its due recompense and the help and support it so sorely needs. The good news is that we are succeeding. Some of these people find their way onto our Most Influential list, together with leaders, entrepreneurs, creatives, sportspeople, opinion shapers and changemakers – all of whom have made a mark with their activity this year.
Some of the names on this year’s list, you will notice, have been here before. This is a tribute to their staying power, that year on year, they do not rest on their laurels but continue with fresh impetus to do more for more people in more areas.
You will also find very many exciting new names as a fresh crop of achievers make their way into the chart. Of course, human achievement and activity respects no calendars and in some cases, the outstanding achievement may straddle adjoining years but cannot be ignored. Many of those on the list are recognisable names – the political leaders, the sports stars, the actors and actresses, the authors and designers who play their trade in public and are therefore in the eye of the media.
There are many others who are working away diligently and ceaselessly but away from the public eye. Some are making far-reaching changes at the grassroots level, some are beavering away in laboratories or obscure sites – their influence is understated and yet fundamental to our progress. This year, as in the previous two years, our creatives – the writers of award-winning, bestselling books, the actors and singers who are reshaping the global entertainment world, the chefs who are creating African delicacies for the world, the designers, the journalists, the editors who have crossed over the divide and become truly global – predominate in the listing. These are a symbol of Africa’s growing soft power. The world of Wakanda is alive and kicking. Africa rules!
But examine the listing closely and you will find that Africans are achieving steady and spectacular success in virtually every field of human endeavour. In so many spheres, we are truly leading the world. But while we celebrate our achievers and toasts are raised to the 100 who have made this list, let us not forget those whose journey has been slower and more painful. We must all do all we can in whatever our discipline to help them catch up and enjoy what the modern life has to offer – we should earnestly pledge: no one will be left behind.
We hope you enjoy the read and find their journeys as inspiring as we did.
Anver Versi- Editor
Our thanks to the following for their invaluable contribution to this year’s listing: Lamelle Shaw, Kwame Sylvester Appiah, Tom Collins, Gail Collins, Mike Renouf, Clayton Goodwin and Omar Ben Yedder.