African entrepreneur Tony Elumelu features in Time 100 most influential people in 2020

Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu has featured in Time 100 most influential people in 2020. Elumelu is the chairman of the United Bank for Africa.

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote described Elumelu as a leading proponent of “Africapitalism,” a belief that Africa’s private sector can and must play a leading role in the continent’s development through long-term investments, as well as entrepreneurship and regional connectivity.

“A mere handshake says a lot about Tony Elumelu. His gritty grip underlines his charming, tenacious personality: a man who hardly backs down from any challenge. The same engaging qualities have propelled him from a modest beginning in Nigeria to becoming chair of the United Bank of Africa, and one of the most innovative and ambitious business leaders of his generation,” Aliko Dangote said of Elumelu in Time.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari lauded Elumelu, saying his “vision of Africapitalism, which espouses that Africa’s private sector must play a leading role in the continent’s development through long-term investments, entrepreneurship, and regional connectivity, adding that it was just a matter of time before such caught global attention.”

President Buhari said Elumelu’s commitment to the development of African youths, whom he has given a voice and empowerment, investing $5,000 in 1,000 young entrepreneurs per year across 54 countries, pedestals him as a visionary, with milk of human kindness, “and such, among others, must have qualified him for the Time Hall of Fame.”

The Nigerian leader wished Elumelu greater successes on all fronts, and recommends his strides to other high networth people.

The World Health Assembly will reconvene later in the year. 
Seventy-third World Health Assembly, Geneva, Switzerland, 18-19 May 2020 The World Health Assembly will reconvene later in the year. WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus makes his opening remarks to the 73 World Health Assembly

Also on the list is Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director General of the World Health Organization. Dr. Tedros was recognized for providing quality and equal health care treatment for all people, irrespective of their age, race, or skin color.

Chairman Nigeria National PolioPlus Committee of Rotary International, Dr. Tunji Funsho and Emir of Jiwa HRH Idris Musa are seen during a news conference marking the 3-year-polio-free milestone in Abuja, Nigeria, August 21, 2019. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

Tunji Funsho, a former cardiologist and now the chair of Rotary International’s polio-­eradication program in Nigeria, was also on the list.

“It’s not often an entire continent eradicates a disease, but on Aug. 25, 2020, that happened when Nigeria was declared polio-free, clearing the virus from its last redoubt in all of Africa. The person who did more than any other to drive polio to continent-wide extinction was Dr. Tunji Funsho, a former cardiologist and now the chair of Rotary International’s polio-­eradication program in Nigeria,” Time wrote.


Another Nigerian on the list is Tomi Adeyemi, author of Children of Blood and Bone.

Another African on the list is Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum, a Congolese medical doctor and researcher who helped discover the Ebola virus in 1976.

“His fight against Ebola, from helping discover the virus in 1976 through the recent outbreak from 2018 to 2020, has greatly benefited the people of Congo as well as the entire world,” Time wrote.

Director of the National Institute of Biomedical Research (INRB), Jean-Jacques Muyembe from Democratic Republic of Congo poses on May 28, 2015 in Paris. Dr Muyembe received the 2015 Christophe Merieux Prize for his search on Ebola. AFP PHOTO / MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE (Photo credit should read MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE/AFP via Getty Images)

Abubacarr Tambadou, 47, a former prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and, until this past summer, Justice Minister in Gambia, is another African from The Gambia who was named among the 100 most influential people in the world.

Abubacarr Tambadou, Gambia’s attorney general, in Banjul, the capital of Gambia, on Aug. 21, 2019. A popular live stream of an investigation into years of atrocities prompts the nation to consider if the truth will lead to justice. Tambadou said it was his decision to push for the live streaming of the testimony. (Yagazie Emezi/The New York Times)

Time wrote: “Moved by his 2018 visit to a refugee camp in Bangladesh where he heard the haunting testimonies of Rohingya survivors, Tambadou and his government brought a case before the International Court of Justice, accusing Myanmar of perpetrating genocide. In January 2020 they won an extraordinary initial ruling against Myanmar and its leader (and courtroom defender) Aung San Suu Kyi, as the judges ordered that Myanmar “take all measures within its power” to stop violent attacks against the Rohingya while the court continues to investigate the country’s past actions.”

There are other big names around the world, including the Prime Minister of India, the president of China and the German Chancellor.

Former Vice President Joe Biden. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images 
Former Vice President Joe Biden. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

In the United States, there are familiar faces in the media, including former Vice President Joe Biden and now Democratic presidential candidate, his running mate Kamala Harris, the first woman of color in a major part presidential election ticket.

Kamala Harris (Senator) 
Vice Presidential candidate Senator Kamala Harris

President Donald Trump, who is running for re-election is also included in the selection.


Dr. Anthony Fauci, an American infectious disease expert who has been leading the fight against the coronavirus and U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts, Presidential candidate Joe Biden, among others.

Anthony Fauci 

“As the COVID-19 pandemic began to spread to the U.S., there was one person millions of Americans immediately knew we could turn to for guidance: Dr. Anthony Fauci. As director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Dr. Fauci has advised six Presidents over 36 years. When COVID-19 reared its ugly head, he was among the first to step forward with facts and only facts,” Time wrote of Fauci.

Chief White House Correspondent for

Simon Ateba is Chief White House Correspondent for Today News Africa. Simon covers President Joe Biden, Vice President Kamala Harris, the U.S. government, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and other financial and international institutions in Washington D.C. and New York City.

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