Five Africans have been named among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine.
Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, Burkinabe architect Diebedo Francis Kere and South African scientists Professor Tulio de Oliveira and Dr Sikhulile Moyo were featured in the prestigious magazine’s annual list of 2022.
The personalities were categorised under six categories; Artistes, Innovators, Titans, Leaders, Icons and Pioneers.
The annual list features individuals who made the most significant contributions to our world, as identified and voted for by the publication’s international network of editors, thought leaders and past recipients.
Time magazine noted that Samia’s leadership has been a tonic. She took office in March 2021, following the death of her predecessor John Pombe Magufuli.
In her one year as president, President Samia has appointed more women to her cabinet to lead prominent ministries. She has also held talks with opposition leader Freeman Mbowe three times.
Time magazine noted that “a door has opened for dialogue between political rivals, steps have been taken to rebuild trust in the democratic system, efforts have been made to increase press freedom, and women and girls have a new role model.”
While delivering a landmark speech in September 2021 at the U.N. General Assembly, Samia said: “As the first female President in the history of my country, the burden of expectation to deliver gender equality is heavier on my shoulders.”
Born and raised in Zanzibar Island, President Samia began her political career in 2000 when she was elected as a special seat member to the Zanzibar House of Representatives.
Contrary to her predecessor, President Samia is a soft politician, who has recently insisted on peaceful, decent political campaigns.
Kéré was recognised for bringing to the world “a different kind of contemporary African architecture.”
Writing for the magazine, Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye described Kéré as a trailblazer for his long–standing commitment to ¬formalising space for both social and environmental good.
The 2022 Pritzker Prize winner has built a career out of making places that exist on the periphery; places that have a transformative impact on how ¬communities and societies see and serve themselves.”
“He is a trailblazer for his long-¬standing commitment to -formalizing space for both social and environmental good. In this sense, his legacy lives not just in his built work but also in his general practice and methodological spirit.
“This is manifest not only in Kéré’s completed buildings; such as a Burkina Faso–based health centre that boasts roofs designed to collect needed rainwater; but in the integrity of his process, which is ¬predicated on knowledge ¬building and knowledge sharing as he works with local communities to inform his creations”.
Professor Tulio de Oliveira and Dr Sikhulile Moyo were recognised in the pioneers’ category for their work in genomics and epidemiology.
In November 2021, de Oliveira, director of South Africa’s Centre for Epidemic Response and Innovation and Moyo, laboratory director for the Botswana-¬Harvard HIV Reference Laboratory, led the multidisciplinary team who discovered the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2, which quickly became the dominant variant of the virus globally.
Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) director, John Nkengasong, in his citation for de Oliveira and Moyo, said scientists in Africa have been monitoring and sequencing pathogens since long before the pandemic and the world benefited from this network when scientists, including Moyo and de Oliveira identified and reported the emergence of the Omicron variant last November.
“It was a transformational moment and a shift in paradigm; one that for me symbolised that excellence in science can originate in Africa,” Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) director, John Nkengasong, in his citation for de Oliveira and Moyo wrote.
De Oliveira is a professor of Bioinformatics holding a joint appointment at Stellenbosch University (SU) School for Data Science and Computational Thinking, the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences. Moyo, in turn, is an SU alumnus who obtained his PhD in Medical Virology at the University in 2016.
Stellenbosch University celebrated the historical achievement of the scientists.