Mo Salah, PM Abiy among 5 Africans honoured on TIME’s ‘100 most influential’ list

Mo Salah (TIME)

Egyptian footballer and Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah is among five Africans listed as the most influential people on the plant in 2019 by TIME Magazine.

The list features categories such as pioneers, artists, leaders, icons and titans, all from various parts of the world.

Ethiopian prime minister Abiy Ahmed, South African president Cyril Ramaphosa, World and Olympic 800 meter champion Caster Semenya and entrepreneur Fred Swaniker are the other influential Africans to have made the list this year.

“It is a community of hundreds of global leaders, many of whom support and challenge one another,” the magazine said.


Mohamed Salah

The Egyptian footballer who plays as a forward for Liverpool and the Egypt national team, is the only male footballer who made it on the list.

He was named in the ‘Titans’ category alongside Lebron James, Mark Zuckerberg, Tiger Woods, and Gayle King.

Salah’s profile was written by HBO’s Last Week Tonight host John Oliver.

“You’d be hard-pressed to find a professional athlete in any sport less affected by their success or status than Mo, which is incredible because I can’t imagine the kind of pressure that comes with the intensity of adoration he receives. Mo is an iconic figure for Egyptians, Scousers and Muslims the world over, and yet he always comes across as a humble, thoughtful, funny man who isn’t taking any of this too seriously.”

Abiy Ahmed

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister made the list in the ‘leaders’ section.  He was recognized for his speedy reforms since taking office a little over a year ago.

He is listed alongside President Donald Trump, Pope Francis, fellow Prime Minister Jacinda Arden of New Zealand.

His profile was written by an Olympic-silver-medalist marathoner named Feyisa Lilesa.

“In Ethiopian history, we have never seen a leader like him. He’s an educated person who talks about unity. He has released thousands of people from jail. He brought peace between Ethiopia and Eritrea after 20 years of war. And he made it possible for me to come home.”

Cyril Ramaphosa

South African president Cyril Ramaphosa made it to the list among other influential leaders from around the world such as United States President Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Ramaposa becomes the first sitting South African president to be included in the list since former president Thabo Mbeki was included in 2005.

Vivienne Walt, a TIME correspondent, had the privilege of writing Ramaphosa’s profile.

“Finally, at 66, Ramaphosa, or Cyril, as he’s known to South Africans, has the chance to end corruption and grow the stalled economy. That could be his toughest battle yet. Blackouts, grinding poverty and massive unemployment have left millions desperate for quick results. Vicious infighting in his African National Congress party leaves him vulnerable to a coup, or perhaps an ouster in elections on May 8.”

Caster Semenya

The 28-year-old double Olympic champion has been the focal point of a move by the IAAF to regulate the amount of natural testosterone, but she has stood up to the attempted ruling and the matter remains with the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS) for a ruling that is expected at the end of the month.

Edwin Moses, a two-time Olympic gold medalist in track and field, was tasked with describing Semenya for the entry.

“A world and Olympic track-and-field champion several times over, Caster Semenya has taught us that sex isn’t always binary, and caused us to question the justness of distributing societal benefits according to “male” and “female” classifications.”

Fred Swaniker

Fred Swaniker is a Ghanaian entrepreneur and leadership development expert. He has launched four organizations that aim to develop leaders, primarily in Africa.

His profile was written by,Mo Ibrahim, a telecoms entrepreneur and chair of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation.

“Fred has the passion, understanding and ability to take this great continent forward, through its young people. I am filled with hope knowing that he is there to help the next generation of African leaders to blossom.”

Time makes it clear that entrants are recognized for changing the world, regardless of the consequences of their actions. The final list of influential individuals is exclusively chosen by TIME editors with nominations coming from the TIME 100 alumni and the magazine’s international writing staff.