Africa’s 10 Most Influential Countries and What Makes Them a Force to reckon With


Influence is defined as the capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behaviour of someone or something, or the effect itself. In this particular case we are discussing the effect a whole country has on others in the continent and outside of Africa. The power of countries to shape policy or ensure favourable treatment from other countries, especially through status, contacts, or wealth.

The impact African nations will have on the world stage will determine the rate of development the continent will grow at. Africa must strengthen relationships amongst its own countries and the world at large to have meaningful influence going forward. This article looks at the influence some African countries have in the world.

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.
nelson mandela answers a question from the audience
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 find any country which is more influential like ETHIOPIA in Africa.

ethiopia dam

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.
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 agression – 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.
Sharm el-Sheikh Egypt
 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] andAthanasius Kircher’s Oedipus Aegyptiacus contains a fanciful attempt to translate Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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 infrustructural 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 accomodate 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. Kenya has recently discovered oil too.

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.

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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.

tallest building in morocco

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.

6. Nigeria

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.

World Economic Forum on Africa 2011

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.

7. Uganda

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.

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.

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

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 adavntages coupled with the hardworking nature of general zimbabweans, high literacy and a highly capable and desciplined military favour zimbabwe to emerge as the nuclues of african economic and military power. this natuarally will see accumulated wealth by the local people being used to invest and influence sorrounding 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.


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.

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