Multiple award-winning Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has been named as one of the 100 Most Influential Africans by the Africa Report. She is is Number 4 on the list, and apart from Aliko Dangote who is number 1, she is the only other Nigerian in the top 10. She is also the only woman.
In a series of articles published on their platform, The Africa Report named the top 100 Africans “who control the levers of power across politics, business and the arts: from billionaire barons to unpredictable peacemakers and soft-power superstars”.
The Africa Report said of Adichie that she “continues her stratospheric ascent and is as often seen behind a mic as in print – engaging audiences about racism, sexism and the human condition.”
Adichie has received numerous awards and recognitions, including in 2008, a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as the MacArthur Genius Award. She also received fellowships at Princeton University and the Radcliffe Institute of Harvard University.
Her books have been translated into over 30 languages and are used in schools around the world, including Nigeria. They have won numerous prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for her first novel, Purple Hibiscus, the Orange Prize for her second novel, Half of a Yellow Sun” and the US National Book Critics award for her third novel, Americanah.
Americanah is now being adapted for a HBO miniseries produced by Lupita Nyong’o and Brad Pitt. Adichie’s TED talk, “The Danger of a Single Story” is one of the most viewed TED talks of all time. Her other TED talk, “We Should All Be Feminists” started a global conversation about feminism, and was sampled by Beyoncé for her song “Flawless”. It also led to collaboration with Christian Dior Couture, which launched a limited-edition T-shirt in 2017 inspired by her talk.
In October 2018, she was awarded the PEN Pinter Prize, named in honour of playwright and Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter.
With many of these awards, she has the distinction of being the first Nigerian and in fact, the first African, to receive these recognitions.
Adichie is admired by many global leaders and influencers, including Barack and Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Oprah Winfrey. Obama called her “one of the world’s great contemporary writers”; and Hillary Clinton has written that “she has the rare ability to sum up even the biggest societal problems swiftly and incisively”.
In addition, she has received 14 Honorary Doctorate degrees from leading universities around the world, including from one of her alma maters, Yale University; has delivered keynote addresses at some of the most influential global institutions such as the United Nations General Assembly, and is known for her courageous speaking out against injustice.
Adichie’s influence transcends writing, with the New York Times calling her “the rare novelist to become a public intellectual”.
Also included in the Africa Report’s list are Chief Executive Officer of leading global bank Credit Suisse, Tidjane Thiam (Cote D’Ivoire); Chairman of the largest media group by market capitalization outside the US and China, Koos Bekker (South Africa); and the current Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Abiy Ahmed.