Burna Boy, Davido, Omotola Jalade, Chimamanda Adichie, Others On Forbes Africa’s ‘100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons’ List

by Yinka Akanbi

Nigeria has again proved to be home to some of the finest minds and most incredible ideas in business, science, art and entertainment, to mention but a few.

Forbes Africa, for its 100th issue, curated a list celebrating these very ideas, inventions and influential role models that have contributed towards the continent’s growth over the last decade.

Grammy award winner, Burna Boy; the Director-General of WTO, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie; Founder and CEO of Flutterwave, Olugbenga GB Agboola; award-winning singer, Davido; award-winning actress and producer, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde all made the Forbes Africa’s “100 Innovations, Inventions and Icons from Africa list”.

“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.”

According to Forbes, the list is a testament to the ingenuity of the African mind and spirit of resilience and Afro-optimism. The future is good.”

Excerpts from Forbes feature:

PAYMENT PROCESSOR: Olugbenga GB Agboola, Founder and CEO of Flutterwave

Nigerian company, Flutterwave, is based on a financial application programming interface that makes it simpler to process payments across Africa. It is not just a useful tool for individuals, but also an enabling technology because it helps other businesses, including start-ups. And while Flutterwave is useful within countries, the unique nature of Africa makes it doubly useful across borders.

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MONEY TRANSFER APP: Chukwunonso Arinze, Kaoshi mobile app

Nigerian entrepreneur Chukwunonso Arinze created the Kaoshi mobile app that connects expatriate immigrants and money senders across the globe. In the Mail & Guardian, Arinze states that starting this business was built on the premise that sending money across borders is rarely a hassle-free process. “It usually involves long lines, obscene transfer fees, and lots of red tape. But it doesn’t need to be this way.” It boasts of being able to help users “send money to anywhere in the world quickly and without paying expensive fees”.


Labelled as an Afrobeats superstar by FORBES in 2020, Davido is without a doubt one of Africa’s biggest musicians. The Nigerian-American artiste, who also graced the FORBES AFRICA 30 Under 30 list in 2018, told us that “it was people like [Nigerian music veterans] P-Square and D’Banj” who made him believe “that all this was possible”. Since his rise to fame, Davido has won multiple awards, including BET awards and MTV awards. He has also signed on several endorsements with MTN and Guinness Nigeria.

Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde

Easily one of the biggest actors to come out of Africa, multi-award-winning Omotola 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.


Another one of Nigeria’s brightest and biggest stars, Wizkid, is described by Vogue as “an image-maker who speaks to millennials”. The multi-award-winning Afrobeats artist won a Grammy alongside Beyonce for their song Brown Skin Girl (which came off Beyonce’s visual album Black Is King).

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Burna Boy

Often known as one of the biggest and most successful African artists on this continent, Burna Boy won the Best Global Music Album category at the Grammys on March 14. The Grammy nomination described Twice As Tall as “a masterclass in the vibe and hustle that have made Burna Boy an international musical force”.

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).

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.

Others on the list include Barack Obama, Idris Elba, Bonang Matheba, Wade van Niekerk, Djimon Houson, Lupita N’yongo, Elon Musk, Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, DJ Zinhle, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Trevor Noah, among others.

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