Econet Founder and Executive Chairman Strive Masiyiwa and Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) Director John Nkengasong have been named to this year’s list of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders published by Fortune.
The men were recognized for the role they played in steering Africa’s 54 nations into an alliance that weathered the COVID-19 storm much more successfully than many far richer countries.
In a continent of 1.2 billion people, Africa has reported only 4.6 million COVID-19 cases so far, with 123,000 deaths.
This is far below the per capita rates in Europe, the Americas, or Asia.
Although there have been reports that the figures are understated given the poor state of the continent’s public health sectors, these remarkable leaders played their part to ensure the safety of the people on the continent.
Dr. Nkengasong heads the Ethiopia-based Africa CDC, a specialized technical branch of the African Union.
He took fourth position in the list.
Nkengasong was also awarded the 2020 Global Goalkeeper Award by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Meanwhile, Masiyiwa, who has made significant contributions to driving connectivity and cashless payments in Africa both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, had an eventful year following his appointment as a special envoy of the AU in charge of the COVID-19 response.
In this role, Masiyiwa spearheaded the creation of the African Medical Supply Platform, an online marketplace designed to make the acquisition of personal protective equipment, medical supplies and vaccines seamless for AU member states.
The move consolidated the buying power of African countries and stimulated healthy competition with wealthier nations in the procurement of items needed to fight the pandemic.
Masiyiwa was ranked 48th on the list.