In Africa, there are a lots of personalities who are famously known for some exploits. The continent has produced many heroic personalities and it is a herculean task to summarize their great deeds. In almost all societies in Africa, some of these personalities are well recognized, honoured and celebrated because of their achievements. Also, these individuals have positively affected the lives of others near and far.
When you think about Africa, the first picture that comes to mind is a deserts of the Sahara to the fertile tracts of Nile, from the Atlas mountains located in the north to the Cape of Good Hope situated in South. However, there is more to Africa than just the natural beauty and landscapes. Africa has lots of personalities who are famous in the world. These personalities have distinguished themselves in their various fields.
This article seeks to glance at the profile of some famous personalities from Africa.
1. Elon Musk
Business magnate and investor | South Africa
The business magnate and investor born June 28, 1971 is the founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer at SpaceX; angel investor, CEO, and Product Architect of Tesla, Inc. He is also the founder of The Boring Company; and as well the co-founder of Neuralink and OpenAI. According to both the Bloomberg Billionaires Index and the Forbes real-time billionaires list, he is the wealthiest man in the world with an estimated net worth of around US$265 billion as of May 2022.
Born to a White South African parents African in Pretoria, where he grew up, he attended the University of Pretoria. Then at the age of 17 he moved to Canada where he acquire citizenship through his Canadian-born mother.
Today, Elon Musk ideas are shaping the future, from reducing global warming through the use of his electric cars to urban transportation on a cushion of air. His organization, the Musk Foundation, donates to scientific research and education.
2. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Economist | Nigeria
The Nigerian economist and international development professional, born on 13 June 1954, is currently the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Thus becoming the first woman and first African to lead the World Trade Organization as Director-General. With more than 30 years of experience working in Africa, Europe, Asia, Latin America and North America, Okonjo-Iweala distinguished herself as a human welfare champion, sustainable finance maven and global development expert.
She had a 25-year career at The World Bank as a developmental economist, which saw her rising to the position of Managing Director for Operations from 2007 to 2011. Okonjo-Iweala became the first Nigerian woman to serve two terms as Nigeria’s Finance Minister, from 2003-2006 under President Olusegun Obasanjo and 2011-2015 under President Goodluck Jonathan. However she also briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006.
She has always emphasized the power of trade to lift developing countries out of poverty in order to help them achieve sustainable development.
3. John N. Nkengasongh
Virologist | Cameroon
Dr John N. Nkengasong is a Cameroonian virologist and currently serves as the first Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. Prior to his current position, he was the Deputy Principal Director (acting) of the Centre for Global Health at the United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and Associate Director of Laboratory Science and Chief of the International Laboratory Branch, Division of Global HIV/AIDS and TB.
Dr Nkengasong is a leading virologist with nearly thirty years years of work experience in public health. Also, he has worked at the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He was appointed the WHO Special Envoy for Africa during the COVID-19 pendamic. During his early career, he has worked as Chief of Virology Laboratory at the Collaborating Centre on HIV Diagnostics at the Department of Microbiology in the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium. Later in 1994, he joined US CDC and served as the Chief of the Virology Laboratory in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.
Dr Nkengasong has received numerous awards for his works and has authored over 250 peer-reviewed articles in international journals and published several book chapters.
4. Angélique Kidjo
Singer-songwriter | Benin Republic
The Beninese singer-songwriter, actress, and activist is known for her collaborations with internationally prominent popular musicians and noted for her diverse musical influences and creative music videos. Born into a family of performing artists, where her father was a musician and her mother a choreographer and theatre director, Angélique Kidjo began performing at the age of six. She started with her mother’s theatre troupe and sang with her brothers in their rock–rhythm-and-blues band. By the time she was twenty years, she has turned a professional singer and her first album, Pretty was recorded in 1988.
She was called “Africa’s premier diva” in 2007 by Time magazine. Her musical influences include the Afropop, jazz, Congolese rumba, Caribbean zouk, gospel and Latin styles. Kidjo was included in Time list of the 100 most influential people in the world on September 15, 2021. Kidjo is also known for her fluency in five languages: Fon, French, Yorùbá, Gen (Mina), and English and she sings in all of them. Despite also having her own personal language that serves as song title, she often uses Benin’s traditional Zilin vocal technique and vocalese.
5. Aliko Dangote
Industrialist | Nigeria
The Nigerian billionaire business magnate Aliko Dangote is the founder of largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa—Dangote group. He serves as the chairman and also the CEO of the Dangote Group. He is ranked the wealthiest person in Africa having an estimated net worth of US$21 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index as of May 2022. In 2007, Dangote became Nigeria’s first billionaire and he reportedly added $9.2 billion to his personal wealth in 2013, making him the thirtieth-richest person in the world at the time, and the richest person in Africa according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Presently, the Dangote Group is one of the largest conglomerates in Africa, with international operations in some of the West African countries. The Group moved from being a trading company to become the largest industrial group in Nigeria. The Dangote Group encompasses divisions like Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour and employs more than 11,000 people in West Africa.