7 Power Men in Africa
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African CEOs - March 23, 2023

7 Power Men in Africa

Africa is home to many powerful and influential men who have made significant contributions to their respective countries and to the continent as a whole. 

These men are country leaders, entrepreneurs, philanthropists, and change-makers, who have shown that with hard work, dedication, and vision, anything is possible. In this article, we will take a closer look at seven of the most powerful men in Africa.

Herbert Wigwe

Herbert Wigwe bought a small Nigerian bank, Access bank in 2002 and turned it into Nigeria’s largest financial services group in terms of assets terms. The Nigerian businessman and multimillionaire banker Herbert Wigwe recently met with Emmanuelle Blatmann, the ambassador of France to Nigeria, to promote collaboration and cultural exchange between Nigeria and France. The meeting comes as part of plans to launch a new banking unit in France to consolidate its presence in Europe.

Wigwe who leads one of the most capitalised financial institutions listed on the Nigerian exchange also revealed plans to launch a new company called Hydrogen. According to him, the launch of hydrogen will put Access Holdings on the path to supporting intra-Africa trade, as it would be responsible for payment across the continent in collaboration with some DFIs. Wigwe who has been instrumental in the growth and expansion of the group owns a 4.51-per cent stake in Access Holdings.

Paul Kagame

Paul Kagame is the President of Rwanda, who is widely credited with turning Rwanda into a stable, prosperous, and innovative country, and has been praised for his leadership in the aftermath of the Rwandan genocide. In 2000, Kagame’s government crafted a development programme dubbed “Vision 2020” whose goal was to “transform Rwanda from a low-income agriculture-based economy to a knowledge-based, service-oriented economy by 2020.” 

The plan moved Rwanda a middle-income country from a humanitarian assistance phase associated with the 1994 genocide into one of sustainable development. In 2007, Rwanda became the first country in Africa to sign the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme, an African Union initiative to increase investments in agriculture. Kagame’s democratic credentials witnessed a boost when he won the 2010 presidential election with 93% of the vote. Kagame is also a strong advocate for African unity and has played an active role in regional politics and diplomacy. 

King Mohammed VI

King Mohammed is the King of Morocco credited to have modernised Morroco and promoted economic development. He led Morocco to establish partnerships with the Gulf Cooperation Council as well as other non-traditional great powers, mainly China and Russia. These partnerships were targeted at diversifying trade links and foreign investments to limit Morocco’s traditional reliance on the West, particularly the European Union (EU). Upon ascension to the throne in 1999, he introduced a number of reforms and changed the family code, Mudawana, granting women more power. He gave the parliament new powers that enable it to discharge its representative, legislative, and regulatory mission. Mohammed led his country to sign a free-trade agreement with the US in 2006, the only type of agreement existing between the US and any other African country.

In 2015, Forbes named him the richest king in Africa and the fifth wealthiest monarch in the world. Mohammed also wrote to the African Union requesting readmission into the union, the country was later readmitted in January 2017.

Alassane Ouattara

Alassane Ouattara is the President of Ivory Coast who worked for the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Central Bank of West African States (French: Banque Centrale des Etats de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, BCEAO). In 2012, he sacked his government in a row over a new marriage law that would make wives joint heads of the household.

He has led his country into signing 26 public-private partnerships and investment economic, commercial and technical agreements with Morocco. The agreements covered the realms of trade, maritime fisheries, investment, tourism, trade, ICT, agriculture, housing, education, training etc.

Iyinoluwa Aboyeji

Aboyeji co-founded Andela which grew from nothing to a network of more than 1,000 software engineers in two years. Also, his payment platform Flutterwave processes more than $2bn a year. Aboyeji’s Street Capital also connects global investors and philanthropists with “missionary entrepreneurs” in Africa to empower them and the next generation after that.

Ashish Thakkar

Ashish Thakkar is a school dropout that turned a $5,000 loan from his parents into a continent-spanning empire, Mara Group. He midwife Mara Group with a spirit of collaboration that has continued through its almost two-decade history. Thakkar has reinvested Mara’s profits into new projects with additional capital from debt markets, but cooperation with partners has been the sine qua non of its business model.

Admassu Tadesse

Admassu Tadesse is the President and Chief Executive of TDB (formerly trading as PTA Bank), the Eastern and Southern Africa Trade and Development Bank, since his appointment in 2011. He is an international banker specialising in trade and development finance with experience at the board and executive levels globally and in Africa. He previously served as Executive Vice President at the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) where he was responsible for international finance and corporate strategy for 10 years.

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