April 4, 2013

Five prominent Ghanaians have been listed among the 100 most influential Africans for the year 2013.

The annual list was compiled and published by the New African magazine in the December 2013 edition of the magazine which is owned by London-based IC Publications.

The Ghanaians were Komla Dumor, Senior Broadcaster at the BBC, Foreign Minister Hannah Tetteh and world renowned visual artist El Anatsui.

The other two were David Adjaye, an architect and investment banker Tutu Agyare. Below is how the magazine described the five Ghanaians:

1. Hannah Tetteh

A barrister by profession, she has become known as one of the most astute and efficient politicians of her time. She has been active in politics since 2000, and in 2013 she took up her post as the Minister of Foreign Affairs after President Mahama appointed her with parliamentary approval. Humble yet forthright and persuasive, she is known as a great communicator who engages with public at all levels. She joins the ranks of a growing number of women who given the opportunity, are showing how it should be done.

2. Komla Dumor

It has been a coming of age for Komla Dumor this year. The presenter of Focus of Africa, the flagship and first-ever dedicated daily TV news programme in English for African audiences, BBC World News, has established himself as one of the emerging African faces of global broadcasting. As a lead presenter for BBC World, Dumor has considerable influence on how the continent is covered.

3. Tutu Agyare

Tutu Agyare is the straight-talking Ghanaian who “baptized” the floor of the London Stock Exchange by being the first African to trade on it in his early 20s. He later pursued a successful career at UBS investment bank for two decades, where he became head of Europe, Middle East and African investment. In 2007, he set up the Nubuke Investments, a company solely focused on African investment opportunities.

Today, he is a much-sought-after business leader and investor, and one of a handful of Africans who sit on the board of a FTSE 100 company. He is known for confronting critics of the African investment trajectory and challenges them to “wake up and smell the coffee” and realise that the rest of the world is making a beeline for Africa. Having experienced the best of South and the West, Agyare uses his experience to navigate his way through what he describes as a rich environment for opportunity.

4. David Adjaye

David Adjaye is a Ghanaian-British whose architectural firm won the contract to design and build the US Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington D.C, which is due to be unveiled in two years. Adjaye admits this is one of the most important commissions of his career. At the young age of 45, he has accomplished what most in his career can only dream of. His firm has also been shortlisted in a competition to build the National Holocaust Monument in Ottawa. Adjaye is one of a handful of African architects with global renown, transcending his profession to become a global commentator on architecture, design and politics.

5. El Anatsui

He is revered by critics and art lovers on both sides of the Atlantic, and an inspiration to a young generation of African artists. El Anatsui is one of the most exciting contemporary visual artists on the international art scene today. His work transcends boundaries and he has received widespread international acclaim for his sculptural experiments. His iconic “bottle-top installations” have provoked international attention with institutions queuing up to acquire these monumental works for their art space. Over time, his work, which is mostly comprised of large external installations, has been installed and exhibited in some of the world’s most prestigious art institutions.

The New African magazine’s annual list includes the powerful, the rich, the fastest, spiritual leaders, political game changers, global superstars, sportsmen and women.

Not ranked in order, but divided up into categories, the list offers a fascinating eye opener into the new breed of young entrepreneurs, busy reinventing the face of Africa, as well as a look at some of their more established counterparts.

There were 32 women on the list, with the youngest aged only 11, though in no way does she gain a place simply for her surprising age; the Nigerian girl Zuriel Oduwole has been making waves across the continent in the fight for women’s education, having already competently interviewed eight African heads of state and launched a mentorship programme for girls, to name but a fraction of her many achievements.

Also included are some of the wealthiest men and women on the continent, such as Nigerian Aliko Dangote, South African Johann Rupert and Angolan Isabel Dos Santos.

Nigeria led the way as the country which has the highest number of influential figures, taking up a whopping 23% of the list with an incredibly wide spread over all categories, as well as dominating the business scene.

Right behind is South Africa, taking up 22% of the list.

There are only three heads of state on the list, including the new Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, and two ministers.

Other known African personalities on the list were Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank; Carlos Lopes, Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA); T.B. Joshua, Founder of the Synagogue Church among others.