Forbes Africa Features a Good Number of Nigerians in its 100th Issue

International business magazine, Forbes, has recognized a number of Nigerians in its recently released list of 100 Innovations, Inventions & Icons From Africa.

The list which was made available on the official website of the publication was curated as a way of “celebrating these very ideas, inventions, and influential role models that have spelt Africa’s growth over the last decade.”

AFRICA, A CONTINENT brimming with beauty and diversity, has produced some of the finest minds and most incredible ideas, be it in business, science, art, or entertainment, thus debunking the many myths, misconceptions, and stereotypes about the continent from the Western world.

FORBES AFRICA scoured the African continent, through extensive desktop research and phone and Zoom interviews, to determine those worthy for each component of this monumental list. And they include not just people, but breakthroughs, ideas, and creations instrumental in contributing to the African growth story over the last decade. Covering innovations, inventions, and icons, we defined each aspect. We see innovation as the disruption or enhancement of a pre-existing idea or concept. Inventions are ideas or concepts new or hitherto unheard of. Covering young and old, across multiple industries on the continent, the icons have considerable impact and enthrall the world with their exemplary work. Within our review, we cross-checked their contribution to the African growth story, be it through their work representing Africa or through their philanthropic and societal impact. There are still countless other pioneering individuals and creations that have contributed to their industries in similar or more measurable ways, and they will no doubt continue to be featured in the pages of the issues to come. But these are the 100 that made it into our 100th edition. Curled From Forbes.

The List is Divided into Different Categories: Invention, Innovation, and Icons.

Nigerians Made it to the following Segments and Numbers:

Under Inventions RESPIRE-19 holds Number 3, WELLVIS sits at Number 4 While Under the Innovations Category Nigerian holds the following Places: Flutterwave at Number 2, Airbank by Lifebank at Number 6, and Kaoshi mobile app holds Number 29.

In the final category, Icons, A good number of Nigerians hold several positions

An icon is someone who has held true to realize socially positive goals against great challenges and odds, who has lived to tell the tale, who inspires others in a positive way, and who leaves behind a legacy of uplifting work.

– Tsitsi Dangarembga

They are;


At Number 1 – Labeled as an Afrobeat superstar by FORBES in 2020, Davido is without a doubt one of Africa’s biggest musicians. The Nigerian-American artist, who also graced the FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list in 2018, told us that “it was people like [Nigerian music veterans] P-Square and D’Banj” who made him believe “that all this was possible”. Since his rise to fame, Davido has won multiple awards, including BET awards and MTV awards. He has also signed on several endorsements with MTN and Guinness Nigeria.


At Number 8 – One of the biggest actors to come out of Africa, multi-award-winning Omotola J Ekeinde has appeared in over 200 movies, according to Entrepreneurs. In 2013, she was featured on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people in the world alongside Michelle Obama, Beyoncé, and Kate Middleton.


At Number 10 – Another one of Nigeria’s brightest and biggest stars, Wizkid, is described by Vogue as “an image-maker who speaks to millennials”. The multi-award-winning Afrobeat artist won a Grammy alongside Beyoncé for their song Brown Skin Girl (which came off Beyoncé’s visual album Black Is King).


At Number 15 – Often known as one of the biggest and most successful African artists on this continent, Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category at the Grammys on March 14. The Grammy nomination described Twice As Tall as “a masterclass in the vibe and hustle that have made Burna Boy an international musical force”.


At Number 26 – Known for her feminism which comes across not only in her books but in the way she speaks, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has brought the power of narrative to all the work she has done. The Half of a Yellow Sun author has been described by The Times Literary Supplement as “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young Anglophone authors [which] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature”, particularly in her second home, the United States (her first being Nigeria).


At Number 29 – “I hope other women will not just emulate me but do better… people ask me how do you manage to be successful but I did not set out to be promoted. For me, success was getting out of bed and running to work,” says Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman and the first African to hold the office as the Director-General of the World Trade Organization. Okonjo-Iweala has made history, and she was FORBES AFRICA’s African of the Year in 2020.


At Number 31 – Also known to the world as Jeremiah Ogbodo, Swanky Jerry is a Nigerian celebrity fashion stylist who has dressed the likes of Pearl Thusi, Davido, Nyanda, Yemi Alade, Tiwa Savage, AKA, Sarkodie, and African presidents and first ladies. In 2020, he made the FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list.


At Number 35 – CNN calls her ‘one of Hollywood’s biggest stars”. Funke Akindele-Bello rose to fame after starring in the popular United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)-sponsored sitcom I Need to Know.


At Number 37 – Described as a trailblazer in Nollywood, Genevieve Nnaji’s directorial debut movie, Lionheart, is the first Netflix Original from Nigeria. Unfortunately, it was the first Nigerian submission for the 2020 Oscars before it was disqualified over English dialogue.

“We did not choose who colonized us. As ever, this film and many like it are proudly Nigerian,” Nnaji said in a tweet.


At Number 40 – Known to the world as ‘Mr Eazi’, Nigerian-born singer Oluwatosin Ajibade has made a name for himself as an award-winning African artist. In 2020, he made the coveted FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list, in which he spoke about the side hustle while in college in Ghana that led him to a best-selling career in music and earning millions of fans along the way. “I began my career with a small cash gift from friends, which enabled me to pay for my first professional-quality video for Skin Tight,” he told FORBES AFRICA, on the early days.

Other Africans were included such as Nasty C, Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Samuel Eto’o.

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