Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Elumelu, Gambian prosecutor-turned-politician Abubacarr Tambadou and Congolese microbiologist Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum are all on Time magazine’s 100 most influential people list for 2020.
The list released Tuesday is a compilation of 100 people from different walks of life who are making an impact on business, art, sport, music and more across the world.
Final names were selected by Time editors, with recommendations from the magazine’s international staff and Time 100 alumni.
Below are the Africans who made it to the list.
Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian multimillionaire entrepreneur and philanthropist.
In the late 90s, he led a group of small investors in taking over a struggling commercial bank in Lagos, Nigeria’s nerve center. A few years later, with his leadership, the bank became profitable and eventually merged with the United Bank of Africa (UBA) in 2005.
Elumelu is currently the chairman of UBA which operates in 20 African countries, the United States and the United Kingdom. He also heads an investment company that owns major stakes in power, real estate, and health care on the continent.
Through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, founded in 2010, the businessman in his 50s provides seed capital, mentorship and funding for entrepreneurs from different parts of Africa.
In 2015, Elumelu, started a pan-African training and mentorship program, committing to investing $5,000 each in 1,000 young entrepreneurs every year across 54 countries on the continent. So far, more than 7,000 aspiring business owners have gone through the program.
Abubacarr Tambadou is a 47-year-old Gambian lawyer and politician. He is the current registrar of the International Residual Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals, an international court founded by the UN Security Council.
From 2017 to 2020, he served as the attorney general and minister of justice in Gambia.
In 2019, Tambadou and his government took on Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s state counselor at the International Court of Justice, the UN’s judicial organ, over alleged crimes against the Rohingya ethnic group.
Suu Kyi and Myanmar’s security forces have been accused of “ethnic cleansing” and crimes such as rape, murder and torture of more than 700,000 Rohingya people, according to the UN.
Tambadou said he was inspired to have Suu Kyi defend the allegations in court after visiting a refugee camp in Bangladesh and hearing testimonies of Rohingya survivors.
In January 2020, they won an extraordinary initial ruling against Myanmar and its state counselor whereby the judges ordered the country to take “all measures within its power” to stop the violent attacks against the Rohingya.
Tomi Adeyemi is a 27-year-old Nigerian-American novelist and writing coach.
In 2018 her first book, “Children of Blood and Bone,” spent 90 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. In the same year, it won the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Debut Novel.
The book, about the Kingdom of Orisha where young teen Zelie Adebola is determined to bring magic back to her people, also won the 2018 Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy.
Fox 2000 has purchased the film adaptation rights to Children of Blood and Bone.
British actor, John Boyega, who wrote Adeyemi’s tribute for the Time100 list described her as “inspiring.”
“Tomi is the god of ideas. She’s inspiring a lot of young people to write. She creates the very world that we as actors get to play in,” Boyega wrote.
Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum
Dr. Jean-Jacques Muyembe Tamfum is a Congolese microbiologist.
In 1976, he was among the research team that investigated the first known outbreak of Ebola virus. In 1995, he worked with the World Health Organization team that implemented the detection and control measures in the first documented outbreak of the deadly disease in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
He is currently the director-general of the National Institute for Biomedical Research in the central African country and has devoted the last four decades to researching the deadly virus and implementing its control measures.
He is also currently leading the country’s response to Ebola and Covid-19.
Dr. Tunji Funsho is a Nigerian cardiologist and chair of Rotary International’s polio eradication program in Nigeria.
In partnership with the World Health Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, UNICEF, and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Funsho lead immunization efforts in Nigeria, getting polio vaccines to millions of children in the country.
Through efforts from him and his team, this year marked four years without a case of wild polio in the West African country, qualifying it and the rest of the continent as free from the deadly virus.
Reacting to being listed by Time, Funsho said in a statement that he feels honored to be recognized.
“I’m honored to be recognized by Time for my part in ensuring that no child in Africa will ever again be paralyzed by wild polio, a disease that once disabled 75,000 African children every single year,” he said.