The Big Five & The Newcomers; Africa’s 10 Most Influential Countries

Africa Cradle
 1. South Africa
South Africa is the only African country that is a member of the G20 and BRICS (the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa grouping), and the only African country of the EU’s 10 global strategic partners. This is mainly because South Africa is the EU’s largest trading partner in Africa but it certainly gives the country a global clout that Nigeria currently lacks. Nelson Mandela’s profile and the international activism of his successor, Thabo Mbeki, saw the former apartheid pariah state significantly increase its leverage in Africa and globally after 1994, and it simultaneously benefited from several years of healthy economic growth.
south africa
   However, despite the towering image of Mandela and the miracle of the transition to democracy, the so-called Rainbow Nation has become tarnished in recent years. The country’s economic growth rates have declined and in 2014 the Nigerian economy was formally recognised as being larger than that of South Africa. The ruling African National Congress struggles with internal ethical challenges and leadership gaps while growth levels and investor confidence have declined because of the uncertain regulatory framework. Africa and the Middle East are likely to retain their position as the two regions with the highest conflict burden globally for the foreseeable future Set out in its National Development Plan, South Africa is caught in a middle-income trap.
2. Ethiopia


Name of Ethiopia is written 44 times in the bible. It is not only a matter wealth. It is also a matter of history, independence, military, politics, diplomacy etc… In all perspective you could not found any country which is more influential like ETHIOPIA in Africa. Just remember more than 20 African countries took the flag of Ethiopia after the battle of Adwa. With regards to the economy now Ethiopia is rising from the ash.
Ethiopia used the first railway and telecom in Africa, … Coffee first grew in Kaffa region of Ethiopia. The first humans lived in Ethiopia Today, Ethiopia is SS Africa’s Mightiest Military power, 4th biggest and fastest economy, with no drop of oil.
Ethiopia defeated Italian colonials at Adwa, then Africans realized a black man is capable of saying No! to Europeans. Ethiopia (along with Russia) is the only sovereign nation that hasn’t been ruled by a foreign power, (A privilege even US, UK never enjoyed) Africans knew that it’s possible to be still be Black and yet mighty over history. Ethiopia drew its calendar from the beginning (commemorated new millennium just 5 yrs ago -) writes with its own alphabet system (ሀለሐመሠረሰቀበተቸ .. if your Unicode sys captures it), it’s own version of Christianity not dictated by European guns, Then Africans learned it’s possible to draw Black-man’s version of lifestyle.
The first ‘Azan’ – prayers world wide were screamed in Ethiopia after founder Mohammad and followers were persecuted. Ethiopia rejected Neo-liberalism (the Washington consensus) and adopted DDv’tal State system, recorded upto 3rd fastest growing economy world wide only behind China and India in 2008 when global recession harassed big nations. So Africans discovered that their continent can say No! to western preconditions to survival of their own citizens. Ethiopia is building Africa’s biggest dam – GERD – with 5 bln USD funded by itself to show Africa that it can dream big and satisfy it with a means d/t from only foreign aid.
Ethiopian Airways: Ethiopia has its airline in 1940s when others were suffering from evils, the first black African to captain those crafts – Ato Alemayehu is Ethiopian. The first black African who won Olympic gold Abebe Bikila in 1950s bare-footed on the streets of Rome, that Ethiopia defeated twice within 40 years of colonial aggression – he said he run bare foot because he “… wanted to show that my country, Ethiopia has always defeated with courage and commitment.”
3. Egypt
More Arab than African and with a recorded civilisation going back centuries, Egypt is one of the first nation states in the world. It regained its independence (from Britain) in 1953 – earlier than Algeria, Nigeria or South Africa. Since independence, Egyptian politics (and also much of its economy) have been dominated by the influence of its armed forces. Although it has one of the largest and most diversified economies in the Middle East and Africa, recent years have seen it embroiled in turmoil. 1953 african futures paper 14 • March 2015 7 In 2011 President Hosni Mubarak was forced to step down as the widespread popular protests of the Arab Spring spread across North Africa.
During the subsequent elections, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate was elected to power, only to be ousted by the Egyptian military a year later. A new constitution was drafted and following a lacklustre election campaign, former head of the Egyptian Armed Forces, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, was elected president in March 2014. With its rich history of Arab nationalism, and support for the NonAligned Movement and independence movements globally, Egypt has played an important role in international relations, recently as a regional ally of the US in the Middle East. The Arab League headquarters are in Cairo, and the Secretary General of the League is traditionally an Egyptian. With most of its attention focused elsewhere, Egypt is a distracted member of the AU, although it is recognised as an important country in North Africa.

Egyptian architecture and the low-perspective, hieratic styles of Egyptian art have undergone several revivals in the Western world. Various obelisks have been carried off as trophies by colonial powers, or bestowed as gifts by Egyptian leaders, and these stand in a number of locations far from Egypt. The “Cleopatra’s Needles” that stand in London, Paris, and New York City are examples of these transported obelisks. Egyptian architectural motifs appear in the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili,[1] and Athanasius Kircher’s Oedipus Aegyptiacus contains a fanciful attempt to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

Egyptian themes became much more widespread, however, after Jean-François Champollion deciphered Egyptian hieroglyphics, enabling Egyptian works to be read. The nineteenth century proved to be a heyday for Egyptianizing themes in art, architecture, and culture; these persisted into the early 20th century, and were revived briefly after the discovery of the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamen. Various mystical and fraternal groups incorporated Egyptian themes.[2] The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn had an “Isis-Urania” lodge in London, and an Ahathoor lodge in Paris.[3] The Shriners incorporated both Islamic and Egyptian themes into their visual imagery, including their characteristic fezzes. The Murat Shrine Temple in Indianapolis, Indiana contains a celebrated Egyptian Room, decorated with hieroglyphic motifs and Egyptian themed murals.[4] The Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis (AMORC) opened a Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum in 1928.

In literature, Rick Riordan has written three books based on Egyptian mythology in the modern world: The Kane Chronicles- The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire, and The Serpent’s Shadow. These books are about the adventures of two siblings, Sadie and Carter Kane, who discover that the ancient Egyptian world is still amongst them and they discover that they have the blood of pharaohs and must learn to become magicians in the House of Life. In their adventures they meet and interact with several ancient Egyptian Gods, such as Thoth, Anubis, Isis, Horus, Tawaret, Osiris, Ra, Sobek, Ptah, Bes, and many others.

In The Age of Ra by James Lovegrove, humanity is ruled by the Egyptian pantheon. The Egyptian gods have taken over the world by defeating all other Pantheons that once existed. They have since carved the world into different realms named after themselves.


  4. Kenya


Kenya is a powerhouse in human resource capital. With the most educated population on the continent its also the fastest growing ICT hub in the continent. Its infrastructural development is fast catching up with south Africa and other Arab African countries. Its main strength is o its human capital where its professional traverse the globe.
It was recently voted as the one of the best places to live in the world…in terms of its humanitarian efforts. This follows the vast number of refugees hosted in camps around Kenya, this shows we are the best neighbors ever. Everyday you hear illegal immigrants comes from Uganda, Tanzania, Somalia and even Ethiopia..they all come here seeking for greener pasture, and save for the recent insecurities encountered, Kenya used to accommodate them.
Kenya is already have a working space agency with working satellite in Malindi. The government is planing to start a space programme that will send working satellites in space to help man Kenyan boarders. As from 2008 the government introduced courses in its universities on space exploration, like astrophysics and astronomy. Also with growing uptake of technology and the grand ICT plan of building an ICT park in Kenya like the one in California Kenya is showing great potential.
5. Morocco


Morocco is undeniably becoming a strategic platform to address the African continent. An increasing number of global companies choose to step in, first in Morocco, to then gain a faster access to other African markets. Its geographic proximity to Europe, its political stability and its competitive workforce constitute a powerful advantage.

This is especially true for the aeronautics sub-contracting market. However, the country has still a long way to go to be among the top performers in this sector.

While many North African countries have seen violent uprisings over the last two years as part of the Arab Spring and suffered economically as a result, Morocco has avoided the carnage and instead furthered its appeal as one of Africa’s top business destinations. The centerpiece of that appeal is its burgeoning aeronautical industry, which has drawn hundreds of millions of investment dollars since 2010 from American and European aeronautical companies.

Morocco’s economy continues to grow as it experiences an increase in foreign direct investment and an improved business climate. Industries such as tourism, telecom, agriculture and textiles have made Morocco one of Africa’s top economies. Yet Morocco and the rest of the region continue to face high youth unemployment as well as income inequality. To combat this problem, Moroccan leaders are reaching out to the private sector. At the recent Morocco Private Sector Roundtable held in Washington D.C., experts from the private sector and Moroccan government came together to discuss how they can work to spur economic growth in the country.

Two areas that the discussions focused on were education and land productivity, both areas where the government has put significant efforts to improve. To promote quality education, the government created policies that have increased education access as well as initiatives to train Moroccan youth. Active industrial policies have helped enhance Morocco’s business climate, making Morocco more attractive to investors. While much has been done, the event purposed private-public partnership as a channel to further quality education and land productivity. Engagement with the private sector can lead to improved human capital and strong business ties to promote economic growth.


 6. Nigeria


Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan speaks to the media on the situation in Chibok and the success of the World Economic Forum in Abuja

Nigeria, the country with the largest economic and power potential on the continent, faces different challenges from the other countries of the Big Five – although it shares a common history with Ethiopia, Egypt and Algeria, having experienced 33 years of military rule since independence in 1960. The Nigerian economy is dominated by its hydrocarbon sector, which suppresses the development of other economic sectors, manufacturing in particular, by increasing the relative value of its currency, the naira. Despite the recent diversification of the economy, with new sectors contributing to the country’s GDP, 90% of Nigeria’s export revenue still comes from oil.22 To a large extent, the increase in Africa’s role globally will be driven by the future weight of Nigeria Politics in Nigeria are particularly complex and violent, with many ethnic, religious and social fault lines across society. Deeply entrenched corruption and low levels of government efficiency characterise a country facing huge governance challenges. In 2014 Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranked Nigeria lowest of the Big Five, at 136 out of 175 countries in the survey, which is significantly below the ranking of the other four.
However, in terms of economic potential, no African country can compete with Nigeria. According to the IFs model used in this paper, Nigeria’s GDP is forecast to grow from slightly over $525 billion in 2014 to slightly over $4.2 trillion by 2040. By 2040 the IFs Base Case forecast is that Nigeria will constitute slightly less than 2% of the global economy, up from 0.7% in 2014. To a large extent, the increase in Africa’s role globally will therefore be driven by the future weight of Nigeria – a country that by 2040 will have the fourth largest population in the world after India, China and the US.
As for Nigeria’s influence, however, for that to grow would necessitate changes in the current political culture. This is a country that has been embroiled in successive internal wars – the most recent against Boko Haram in the north-east. In Nigeria signs of drift and loss of influence abound. Amuwo argues that Nigeria has effectively lost its pre-eminence in Africa despite the engagement role it plays in West Africa, and more specifically ECOWAS, and that the country does not have a coherent foreign policy.
This oil rich nation is comparatively stable, it’s large economic presence makes it an important contender in African and world affairs.
7. Uganda


Uganda was among the first sub-Saharan African countries to embrace market reforms in the late 1980s and graduated as a mature reformer in 2006 with sound economic fundamentals and much improved governance. Real GDP growth accelerated from an average of 6.5 per cent year-on-year in the 1990s to over 7 per cent during the 10 years leading up to 2009-10. Not surprisingly, Uganda qualifies as one of the few durable African success stories.  Yet its continued prosperity hinges on shifting the economy to a higher productivity level and integrating all its regions into the development process. The coming ‘oil era’ should have a powerful impact on the wider economy, but also poses future challenges.The economy has undergone structural transformation in the past two decades. According to World Bank figures, as a share of total national output, services and industry increased from 32 per cent and 11 per cent in 1990 to 55.7 per cent and 27 per cent respectively, by 2009. Over the same period, agriculture as a share of GDP fell sharply to 17 per cent (from a high of 57 per cent).

Clearly an efficient transportation network is needed to improve links between producers and markets, while improving the mobility of the work force. And, more importantly, industry needs more electricity. Present output is only 550 megawatts (MW) in spite of the 5,300MW potential. The 2010-11 budget has allocated US$570 million for roads and the transport sector in general.

Uganda has proved resilient during the global downturn, underpinned by fiscal-monetary stimuli in the form of higher public spending and low interest rates, adequate international reserves, lower external debt and a well-regulated banking system. Real GDP growth has been robust by global standards  – 7.2 per cent in 2009 – thanks to higher intraregional trade and recovery of private investment flows. Growth, however, declined to 5.2 per cent in 2010, caused by drought and reduced capital inflows. On the positive side, however, fiscal deficits and public debt remain manageable. And Uganda has maintained a prudent borrowing strategy – the risk of debt distress is negligible.

‘Prudent macroeconomic policies have enabled Uganda to maintain  stability despite a series of external shocks. Notwithstanding a recent deceleration, output growth has been strong and is expected to rebound quickly. Inflation has moderated and the country’s external position has remained solid, buoyed by robust exports and foreign investment flows. Limited central bank intervention has helped smooth excessive exchange rate volatility and the financial sector has remained sound,’ the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said.

Ugandan army may not be the most advanced in Africa but it has show that it is the most courageous and it has proved its self better than most force from the rest of Africa from 1993 when participated in stopping the Rwanda genocide,protected the Kenyans in 2008, fought the Rwandan rebel in Congo up to date, when its keeping peace in southern Sudan and largely in Somalia which was abandoned by most Africans great powers like the south Africa and the African Arab countries.

8. Rwanda


 The unmistakable sense of national pride that Rwandans display is truly impressive and the powerful leadership and commitment to peace and development shown by President Kagame and his government is the engine that moves this country forward. Every citizen of Rwanda can be immensely proud of their country as one of the greatest development success stories in the world today, indisputably against all conceivable odds.
And how is this even possible? Because Rwandans chose love over fear, hope over despair, forgiveness and reconciliation over revenge and violence, and progress and development over corruption and futility. That is precisely why the world loves Rwanda so much, and why we speak with such passion and conviction when we encourage everyone to visit this fascinating place and witness it firsthand, even if there is only ever one place they will see in their lives outside of their home country, it should be Rwanda – because make no mistake, Rwanda will change your life.
Military Prowess: Rwanda’s armed forces is quite efficient. It is known for its impressive light infantry operations and anti-guerrilla warfare.

 The UN itself recognises their skills, especially in the area of civil-military operations, after their deployment in different UN missions.
9. Zimbabwe

Journalists scramble to take shots of Mugabe in Rome

God fearing nation…..with lots of potential..Take away sanctions, zimbabwe is a lion with a stone heart. They told y0u on BBC that their people starve because they don’t know how to farm but tell me who is feeding them today. Take away the American and European sanctions and  the nation will rise from the ashes like the phoenix.
The only country that has not followed conventional development strategies as directed by the western countries. though structural changes implemented by the Mugabe regime have resulted in economic backsliding, the fortunes of the country will become better as new structures start a new and forward thrust. The advantage is localisation of the vast economic wealth/ dividends moving forward as opposed to recording good GDP when in actual fact the country is nothing but a western resource extraction ground.
 These economic advantages coupled with the hardworking nature of general zimbabweans, high literacy and a highly capable and disciplined military favour zimbabwe to emerge as the nucleus of african economic and military power. this naturally will see accumulated wealth by the local people being used to invest and influence surrounding countries and probably creating the mightiest global country spanning from DRC to Cape town and from Mozambique to Angola. it is the ability to think outside the box and emulate what western countries do without following what they say that differentiate zimbabwe from the rest.
10. Algeria

Much like Egypt, Algeria is trapped in stasis. And similar to Egypt and Nigeria, the Algerian military has played a major role in domestic politics since independence in 1962 – gained after a brutal war with France that lasted eight years and traumatised both countries. Its ailing and elderly president, Abdelaziz Bouteflika, has won four consecutive elections since 1999.

Like Nigeria, Algeria’s economy is largely based on oil and gas, and it suffers from all the attendant problems known as the ‘Dutch disease’ and the ‘resource curse’.20 Employment creation is minimal, and the terrorist threat in the south raises the issue that oil exploitation may not be predictable in all of the country. After the introduction of multiparty politics in 1988, the military again stepped into the political sphere to prevent the Islamic Salvation Front from gaining power during elections scheduled for January 1992. The subsequent Algerian Civil War claimed tens of thousands of lives and subsided only after several years. Efforts by Bouteflika, through his Civil Concord initiative, reduced tensions and, together with subsequent efforts, have contributed to national reconciliation.

Unlike Egypt, Algeria was narrowly able to avoid much of the impact from the Arab Spring, which started in neighbouring Tunisia at the end of 2010. But the fallout from the NATO intervention in Libya, which finally clinched the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, ignited turmoil in the region, particularly along Algeria’s eastern and southern borders with Libya, Mali and Niger. Tensions between Algeria and Morocco, to the west, complete the picture of a country located in a hostile neighbourhood. Although it contributes little to peacekeeping, Algeria has the highest military expenditure among the Big Five and in Africa as a whole.