Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chimamanda Adichie, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Others make Forbes Africa’s ‘100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons’ list

By Duchess Magazine

Africa, rich in culture, beauty, talent and diversity, contrary to wide spread archiac beliefs boasts of being home to some of the world’s finest and creative minds who have contributed in no small measure to world development. Proving over and over again Africa is capable of achieving greatness.

Forbes Africa has released its much anticipated ‘100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons’ list and making the cut are Director-General of WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Nollywood Diva Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, award winning singers Burna Boy, Davido, Wizkid, Hollywood magnet Lupita N’Young O, Charlize Theron, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga GB Agboola, among others.

“From Hollywood exports and Grammy artists to award-winning ideas that can save the world, Africa is not only diverse in its people but also in its industries and creativity,” Forbes Africa says. “For FORBES AFRICA hundredth issue (since the magazine’s inception in 2011), we decided to curate a list celebrating these very ideas, inventions, and influential role models that have spelt Africa’s growth over the last decade.” The mag says.

“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 enthral 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.”

Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala

“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.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

“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).” Forbes writes.

Genevieve Nnaji
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.

Omotola Jalade

Easily 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.

In a report by Nigerian newsroom, Pulse, Ekeinde commented on the fact that she would be part of the cast for Rattlesnake: The Ahanna Story, Play Network studios’ remake of Amaka Igwe’s 1994 crime thriller.

“It feels great being a part of this remake… There’s a lot of youth and drama, culture. I like that there is a human story to it. People will be able to relate to it because they can find themselves in the story plus it’s a classic and you can’t go wrong with a classic,” she said.


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