2011: 100 Most Influential Africans – Science & Technology

2011: 100 Most Influential Africans – Science & Technology

Mark Shuttleworth, South Africa. Mark Shuttleworth shot to fame when he became the first African to go into space. In his last year at university, Mark founded a company which specialised in internet security which he subsequently sold to VeriSign for $400m. Today he funds an investment company based in South Africa, along with the Shuttleworth Foundation, a non-profit organisation that aims to accelerate social innovation in Africa. He created Ubuntu, a popular and freely-available Linux-based operating system, hoping to attract 200m users. Undoubtedly he is Africa’s whizz kid!


Cheick Modibo Diarra, Mali

He was the first African researcher to work at NASA. Born in 1952, this Malian astrophysicist is a specialist in space exploration and a UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador. In 1999 he created the Pathfinder foundation for the education and development of Africa and by 2002 had developed a laboratory for solar research in Bamako. Today Cheick Diarra is the chairman of Microsoft Afica and is tirelessly working at developing the next generation of African scientists, through a variety of different initiatives. A personable individual, he holds sway with international and African leaders on all issues African and especially when it comes to the development of science and technology on the continent.


Dr Thebe Rodney Medupe, South Africa

Born in 1973, Thebe is an astrophysicist and researcher at the South African Astronomical Observatory, where he runs a programme to encourage black South Africans to take up astronomy. He was also an associate producer of Cosmic Africa, a feature-length documentary film about traditional African astronomy. He say’s: “I went ahead and built my telescope. I was 13 years old at the time. The first time I looked at the moon with it, seeing crater, mountains and valleys, I was hooked. That’s when I knew I was going to become and astronomer.”


Dr Rashika el Ridi, Egypt

A pioneering scientist, particulary in the field of immunology, she is based in the Faculty of Sciences at Cairo University in Egypt. She was a 2010 Laureate for Africa and the Arab States, and the recipient of the 2010 UNESCO-L’Oreal Foundation Award for Women in Science for her work in developing a vaccine against he tropical parasitic disease bilharzia, which affects over 200 million people in the tropics.

Rate this article

Author Thumbnail
Written by Baffour Ankomah

Baffour Ankomah, born in Ghana, has been editor of New African since July 1999. His passion is Africa and its Diaspora. A journalist since 1980, Baffour started his career at The Pioneer, the oldest existing newspaper in Ghana, where he became editor 1983-86. He joined New African in mid-1988 as assistant editor, then rose to deputy editor in 1994, and editor in 1999. His column, Baffour's Beefs, a big hit for New African readers, has been running since 1988.

Join our mailing list to receive a sharp, curated weekly round-up of African business news.

Help us deliver better content

Related Posts

Join our 70,000+ subscribers by signing up to our mailing list

Help us deliver better content