2024 is a year brimming with anticipation, largely due to the foundations laid in 2023. It’s a pivotal time for Nigeria and Africa as a whole, with key figures poised to make significant impacts in their respective fields. Their roles, established in the previous year, have set the stage for transformative changes. From the finance sector to art and culture, from digital innovation to continental economic development, 2024 is poised to be a year of transformation led by these remarkable individuals.
POLITICS AND GOVERNANCE
Wale Edun – Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy
Wale Edun, the man at the helm of Nigeria’s finances, has been dubbed the “poster boy” for Nigeria’s economic revival. With the nation grappling with financial woes, Edun’s appointment as Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy comes at a critical juncture. He brings with him a wealth of experience and expertise, having served in various capacities within the financial sector.
Edun’s career trajectory includes positions at leading financial institutions, international organisations and government. His knowledge of economic policies and financial strategies is expected to be the driving force behind Nigeria’s economic recovery. In 2024, the nation looks to him with great expectations, hoping for prudent fiscal management, infrastructure development, and the creation of an enabling environment for businesses to thrive.
Hannatu Musawa -Minister of Art, Culture and the Creative Economy
Hannatu Musawa is the first-ever minister to head Nigeria’s Art, Culture, and Creative Economy sector. This industry has traditionally thrived without being directly tethered to the country’s economic framework. However, her appointment signals a paradigm shift, recognising the immense potential of the creative industry as a driver of economic growth. Musawa is expected to usher in a new era for this sector. From supporting local artists to promoting cultural tourism, she already shows signs that her vision aligns with the nation’s desire for a vibrant and economically significant creative sector.
Bosun Tijani – Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy
Bosun Tijani’s appointment as Minister of Communications, Innovation, and Digital Economy has garnered significant attention and expectations. His background as a tech entrepreneur and his role in co-founding the Co-Creation Hub (CcHub) in Lagos has solidified his reputation as a pioneer in Nigeria’s tech ecosystem. With his deep industry knowledge, Tijani is expected to steer Nigeria towards becoming a tech powerhouse on the African continent, creating jobs, driving policies that foster digital innovation, supporting startups, bridging the digital divide and driving economic growth through the digital economy.
Benedict Oramah – President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afreximbank
Benedict Oramah, the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (Afreximbank), holds a key role in shaping the economic landscape not only in Nigeria but across the African continent. We currently look to him to continue driving initiatives that promote intra-African trade, infrastructure development, and industrialisation. His successful tenure at the helm of Afreximbank will contribute to the broader goal of African economic integration and sustainable development.
Akinwunmi Adesina – President of the African Development Bank
Akinwunmi Adesina, often described as “Africa’s Optimist-in-Chief,” is a visionary leader who has been at the forefront of driving Africa’s transformation. As the President of the African Development Bank Group, he oversaw a historic capital increase, propelling the institution’s general capital from $93 billion to a staggering $208 billion. This remarkable achievement marked a turning point in the Bank’s history, enabling it to extend its influence and reach across the African continent. Our expectations from Akinwunmi Adesina are nothing short of monumental. We anticipate his continued dedication to fostering economic growth, infrastructure development, and sustainable initiatives across Africa. His leadership will be instrumental in addressing the continent’s pressing challenges, including climate change, poverty reduction, and healthcare improvements.
Funke Akindele stepped into 2024 with a bang. Her movie “A Tribe Called Judah.” This film made history by becoming the first Nollywood title to gross over one billion naira. This success sets a new standard for Nollywood and positions her as a trailblazer in the industry. Her productions currently hold the top three spots for the highest-grossing Nigerian films ever, which is a testament to her talent and business acumen. As the year unfolds, we eagerly anticipate Funke Akindele’s continued contributions to Nollywood and her potential to break even more records, further elevating the profile of Nigerian cinema on the global stage.
Ayra Starr is undoubtedly one of the most promising female voices in Afrobeats. In 2023, she made waves with songs like “No Love,” “Stability,” “Stamina,” and “Great One,” solidifying her position in the industry. Her Grammy nomination in 2023 was also a significant milestone in her career, and it’s clear that she’s poised for even greater success in 2024 and beyond.
As fans and industry observers, we eagerly await Ayra Starr’s continued musical evolution and her potential to become a prominent figure in the global music scene. Her talent and versatility suggest that she has the power to shape the future of Afrobeats.
A leading voice in the African Film industry, Chioma Ude’s role transcends the entertainment industry. She is the founder of the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF), a venture that has since become Africa’s most vibrant film festival experience. Under her leadership, AFRIFF has not only showcased African talent but also provided a platform for international partnerships, fostering a global appreciation for African cinema.
Aside from this, she has been actively partnering with the government to empower creatives, providing opportunities for young talents to shine. In 2024, we will see more of Chioma Ude’s continued efforts to uplift African storytellers and filmmakers. Her dedication to promoting African stories on the global stage is essential in shaping the future of the entertainment industry.
Edit Effiong’s journey from founding Anakle, a Nigeria-based digital marketing agency, to transitioning into filmmaking is nothing short of remarkable. In 2023, his movie “The Black Book” achieved unprecedented success on Netflix. It became the first Nigerian-made film to reach the global top three on the platform, with an astounding 20 million viewers and a presence on top 10 lists in over 69 countries. His accomplishments in 2023 have set a new standard for quality production in the Nigerian film industry. We expect him to continue pushing boundaries, producing exceptional content, and inspiring a new generation of filmmakers.
Burna Boy’s 2023 was marked by sold-out shows, chart-topping hits, and prestigious awards. His global reign as a hitmaker showed no signs of slowing down, and his achievements were nothing short of extraordinary. He secured nominations for Best Global Music Performance and Best Global Music Album for his acclaimed project, “Love, Damini,” and received the African Artiste of the Year award at the Soundcity MVP Awards.
This year, we expect his meteoric rise to continue. His unmatched talent, creativity, and global appeal are set to keep him at the forefront of the international music scene. Winning the BET Best International Act award for the fourth consecutive time is a testament to his influence, and we anticipate him pushing boundaries and breaking records per usual.
Davido had a monumental year in 2023, solidifying his position as one of Nigeria’s biggest cultural exports. His fourth studio album, “Timeless,” topped the charts and earned him a Grammy nomination, making it the most streamed Afrobeats album on various platforms. His influence in the global music scene is undeniable, as he successfully integrated the Nigerian sound into mainstream Western music.
Davido’s continued musical prowess and his role as a cultural ambassador for Nigeria are very expected this year. We also see him maintaining his chart-topping streak, collaborating with international artists and further elevating the Afrobeats genre on the global stage.
Rema’s achievements in 2023 were nothing short of remarkable. He secured titles such as the most streamed African album and song on Spotify, charted on the Billboard Hot 100 for a year, and achieved the highest charting position for a Nigerian song on the Billboard Hot 100 at number 3 with “Calm Down.” Additionally, he won the 2023 MTV VMA “Best Afrobeats” award, further solidifying his position as a trailblazer. With each milestone he achieves, he not only cements his place as a pioneer but also paves the way for a new era of African musical excellence. We anticipate Rema to continue breaking records, captivating global audiences, and pushing the boundaries of African music.
In Health Tech, one name stands out prominently – Jennie Nwokoye. The visionary founder of Clafiya, she has redefined healthcare access and management in Nigeria. Clafiya, often likened to the Uber model, is a platform that connects patients with community health workers, streamlining access to Health Maintenance Organisations (HMOs), medical kits, and medicines. Nwokoye’s brainchild offers a wide array of services, making healthcare more accessible and efficient for Nigerians. With Clafiya, patients can sign up, schedule appointments, and have the nearest healthcare practitioner dispatched to their location. Whether you need a nurse for primary care or in-person maternity care testing, Clafiya has you covered.
Moreover, Clafiya goes beyond just primary care. It provides invaluable services such as consultations, health education, rapid diagnostic tests for diseases like malaria and typhoid, STD testing, and screenings for chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes. This approach to healthcare is a game-changer, ensuring that Nigerians receive comprehensive care. Jennie Nwokoye is well-positioned to substantially impact healthcare in Nigeria and beyond.
When it comes to the world of payment technology, Olugbenga Agboola is a name that resonates across the African continent. As the founder of Flutterwave, a leading payments technology company valued at over $3 billion, Agboola has transformed the financial landscape of Africa.
Flutterwave initially started as a solution for enterprise companies seeking to facilitate cross-border money transfers easily. However, it has evolved into something much more profound – the backbone of e-payment services across Africa. In doing so, Agboola has contributed to the economic growth of numerous countries while also bringing African art and products to new consumers. As digital payments become increasingly integral to our daily lives, Flutterwave’s influence is set to grow exponentially. Agboola’s vision extends beyond mere financial transactions; he envisions a future where Africa’s youth are empowered to become the next generation of business leaders.
Nasiru Lawal aka Nasboi
Popularly known as Nasboi, Nasiru Lawal is a seasoned social media comedian and musician. With the help of music crooner Wande Coal, he made waves in 2023 with his hit song “Umbrella,” which went viral on social media. His dual charm as a comedian and musician began in 2006, with music his first love. As a result of the song’s popularity, he is now among the select few Nigerian social media stars to be successful in both comedy and music.
Enioluwa Adeoluwa is a Nigerian public speaker, influencer, and brand & communications strategist. He is arguably the most prominent and hardworking Gen Z influencer, having amassed over 4 million social media fans. He is the first influencer from Nigeria to sign a contract with MAC cosmetics and collaborate with high-end businesses like Crocs footwear. Apart from advocating for minority groups, Enioluwa is also winning globally and has not only received awards as proof but also represents global brands.
FASHION ARTS AND LIFESTYLE
Emmanuel Okoro is the creative director of Emmy Kasbit, a contemporary fashion brand born out of a passion for dressing unconventional men and women with fierce sartorial choices.
In 2023, Okoro took an unexpected yet refreshing turn, experimenting and designing with traditional textiles and prints such as Ukara cloth and Akwete. It was a significant accomplishment for the designer as it set the standard for originality in the following fashion months in Nigeria.
Visual artist Ife Olowu, who resides in Lagos, is gaining attention in the art world for his creative use of augmented reality. He is Nigeria’s first artist to use augmented reality (AR) in art. His work is also among the few AR commercial use cases in the nation and throughout Africa. One of his AR paintings costs $10,000, which is about N7.5 million. For an artist who, only a few years ago, could not persuade anyone to purchase his artwork for N10,000, that is a significant leap. We hope to see more such innovations in the art world in Nigeria and Africa.
Titi Ogufere is an award-winning interior designer and entrepreneur focused on contemporary residential and commercial spaces inspired by African art. She is the creative head at Essential Interior and the founder of Design Week Lagos. In 2007, she founded the Interior Designers Association of Nigeria (IDAN), a body that promotes excellence practices in Nigeria’s interior design sector.
Last year, she was announced alongside design gallerist Rossana Orlandi, interior stylist Colin King, and Dutch architect Ben van Berkel as a prestigious Dezeen Awards 2023 judge.
Tit is taking giant strides in the design industry, and we are super chuffed she is our very own
Andrea Dumebi Iyamah
Dumebi Andrea Iyamah is the talented Nigerian-Canadian fashion designer of the eponymous brand Andrea Iyamah. The brand operates out of Canada and Nigeria, and last year, it launched a second store in West Village, New York. The immersive space reflects the brand’s DNA with natural textures and vibrant colours. The owner, Andrea Iyamah, also earned a well-deserved spot in the Financial Times ranking: The Americas’ Fastest-Growing Companies.
The founder and creative director of the up-and-coming fashion business Vicnate, Victor Anate, is starting to make a name for himself in the industry. In 2023, he co-designed Naomi Campbell’s Pretty Little Thing Collection, which debuted in the main spotlight at New York Fashion Week. Victor’s partnership with the brand and supermodel surpassed all expectations, resulting in an unexpectedly stylish product that has elevated his profile internationally and established him as a young designer to watch.
Yinka Ashogbon established his business, Ash Luxury, in 2017 and has since been an influential figure in the city’s premium retail scene and a pioneer in Nigeria’s fast-expanding streetwear industry. He introduced his streetwear line, Ashluxe, as a private label at the store the following year. Since then, his brand has developed a cult following and is now seen as a status symbol by hip urban Nigerians and the rest of Africa. In 2023, he made the BoF 500 list, an index of the 500 most influential figures in the global fashion landscape.
The founder and creative director of the sustainable brand Nkwo is Nkwo Onwuka. The company has been creating cutting-edge methods ever since its 2012 relaunch, all the while honouring ancient Nigerian textile crafts, including weaving, hand dyeing, and embroidery. Every item of the brand’s ready-to-wear is made with customary West African techniques. Over the past ten years, the Nigerian fashion industry has become increasingly environmentally conscious. Onwuka is leading the way in sustainability with her brand by employing the cutting-edge “Dakala” strip weaving process. Every collection includes this hand-loomed, recycled fabric with a very rich texture.
Joke Bakare is a pharmacist who is the mastermind behind Medplus, the biggest health and beauty retail chain in Nigeria, with over 100 stores nationwide. Established in 1993, the health and beauty retail outlet revolutionised the drugstore model for over thirty years. In keeping with its mission and corporate values, the brand celebrated its 30th anniversary in October 2023 by launching the “Build to Last Grant,” which aims to support female-led businesses and provide free health screenings to 30 towns nationwide. Joke is setting a standard for other pharmacies to follow as she continues to make the communities in which her stores are established feel the impact of the health stores around them.
Iwosan Investments Limited, a Health Investments Holding Company committed to investing in healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria, is led by Mrs Fola Laoye, the co-founder and CEO. She has been a significant factor in the healthcare industry for over 20 years and is a founding board member of Hygeia Group Nigeria. She has led the charge of luring development finance organisations and private equity investors into the healthcare industry in Nigeria and Africa. Additionally, she has participated in transactions that have helped raise over $100 million for the African healthcare industry. The healthcare industry is projected to generate 16 million new employment and be valued at $259 billion by 2030 as a result of Africa’s population increase.
The healthcare industry is one that most requires someone to push for financing access, and Laoye now serves in that capacity.
Muhammed Ali Pate
Muhammad Ali Pate, a politician and physician, is Nigeria’s Minister of Health and Social Welfare. Since taking over as health minister, he has stressed how important it is for the healthcare industry to be self-sufficient and produced domestically. He believes Nigeria must exploit its potential for medical industrialisation, especially in pharmaceuticals and medical services. The minister hopes to spearhead the required transformation and has brought with him a wealth of experience to the field.
Asisat Oshoala has emerged as a formidable force in women’s football. Her journey is one of breaking barriers and setting new standards. As a striker for Spanish Liga F club Barcelona and the Nigeria women’s national team, she is widely regarded as one of the greatest African female footballers of all time and one of the best in the world. Last year, she secured the CAF Women’s Player of the Year for a record sixth time. In 2024, the expectations from Asisat are monumental. She represents not just her team or her country but an entire movement striving for greater recognition and respect for women’s football.
We look forward to seeing her spearhead campaigns for more victories and perhaps clinch more titles, further solidifying her status as a sports role model.
Victor Osimhen’s name is synonymous with breathtaking athleticism and unyielding determination in the football world. He is a striker for Serie A club Napoli and the Nigeria national team. Considered one of the best strikers in the world, he is known for his elite finishing, pace, strength and athleticism. He rounded off 2023 by winning the CAF African Player of the Year for the first time. We expect him to continue his awe-inspiring performances, breaking records and perhaps leading his team to glorious victories.
Tobi Amusan’s journey in athletics is a testament to the power of perseverance. Specialising in the 100-meter hurdles and also competing as a sprinter, Tobi has shattered records and expectations alike.
Amusan became the first ever Nigerian world champion and world record holder in an athletics event when she won the 2022 World Championships 100 m hurdles gold medal, setting the current world record of 12.12 seconds (+0.9m/s) in the semi-final, followed up by 12.06 seconds (+2.5m/s) in the final. She won back-to-back Commonwealth and African titles in 2018 and 2022 in the 100 m hurdles and is also a two-time African Games champion in the event. She is also the current Diamond League champion in the 100-metre hurdles, having won the final in 12.33 seconds (+1.8m/s), achieving a winning streak in 2021, 2022 and 2023. She has etched her name in the annals of track and field history, and now, as 2024 unfolds, all eyes are on her. What will she accomplish next? The answer lies in the pounding of her feet on the track, each stride a story of resilience.