U.S. President Barack Obama, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, and Nigerian businessman and Aliko Dangote are among the “World’s Most Powerful People” in 2016, according to Forbes.
Obama, who is the first Black U.S. president, is ranked No. 48 on the annual Forbes list. As President Obama prepares to hand over power to his successor, President-Elect Donald Trump, on January 20, 2017, one of his enduring legacies includes his foreign policy on African trade.
For example, President Obama ensured that his administration renewed the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) for a decade, from 2015 to 2025, based on sub-Saharan Africa’s (SSA) economic potential.
“The 10-year extension of AGOA — the longest in the program’s history — sends a strong signal that we are serious about expanding our bilateral trade relationship with SSA, by encouraging more business investments,” the White House said in a statement in July.
The bilateral AGOA trade agreement allows the United States to give certain SSA countries duty-free access to America, where they can market their homegrown textile products.
Angola, Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa are some of the SSA countries that are part of the AGOA agreement, which was first passed in 2000.
Egyptian President El -Sisi is ranked 44th this year by Forbes, moving up five spots from 2015.
According to Forbes, “During his two-year reign, Fattah El-Sisi has been able to restore peace in Egypt and the goodwill of the international community. The previous regime had been unable to restore order in the country, which had been destabilized by the 2011 revolution and militia threats by the Islamic State.”
El-Sisi became the president of Egypt in 2014. The previous year, as chief of Egyptian armed forces, he overthrew the government of Mohamed Morsi, who Egyptians considered a dictator.
Under El -Sisi, Egypt has recorded slight economic growth.
“In the 2014-15 and 2015-16 fiscal years, the country had, had an annual economic growth rate of 4 percent. Yet, it was 2 percent during the 2010-2011 and 2013-2014 fiscal years,” says the World Bank.
Through El-Sisi’ s leadership, Egypt has received financial backing from international organisations, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to revamp its economy. For example, earlier this month, the IMF gave Egypt a $12 billion loan to finance its economic reforms.
El-Sisi’s challenge is to curb the insecurity caused by the Islamic State, which in turn discourages investor confidence in Egypt, according to Newsweek.
Egypt’s other challenges include high unemployment and the inability of the El-Sisi government to dismantle an existing black market that offers dollars as an alternative to the official Egyptian pound currency, whose circulation is limited by the state.
Africa’s Richest Man
Forbes has ranked Nigerian billionaire and businessman Dangote as the 68th Most Powerful Person this year.
“Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man with a net worth of $12 billion as of December 16, 2016. Through his Dangote Group, he manufactures cement, flour and salt,” notes Forbes.
This is the third time that Dangote has appeared on the Forbes annual list. In 2015, he was ranked 71st.
Still, Dangote has maintained his position as Africa’s richest man for six consecutive years.
Nigeria has been adversely affected by the price slump in global commodities, notes the IMF. However, Dangote has been able to withstand the economic downturn in Nigeria.