2009 Tutu Fellow Dr Julie Makani is on the 2018 list of the 100 Most Influential Africans compiled annually by New African Magazine. She joins other Fellows in previous years who have been selected for this prestigious list. For years, she has been steadily working towards improving outcomes for people born with sickle-cell anaemia, a condition that disproportionately affects Africans, with more than 210 thousand children in Africa born each year with it.
She is a Principal Investigator in Clinical Medicine at Oxford University and has researched the genomics of the disease to better understand the genetic and environmental factors affecting sickle-cell disease (SCD).
New African said that a yardstick it applies when coming up with the final list is to emphasise that influence is not about popularity and popularity is not always influential. The influencer’s impact on public, social and political discourse, however, is what largely helps us determine their influence. Most importantly we focus mainly on people who have been influential for Africa’s good. Also of note is the inclusion of men and women in the seemingly unglamorous fields such as conservation and climate change, whose work is often overlooked by the media. In her role in fighting SCD, Dr Makani has also headed one of the largest biomedical SCD resources in the world.
For the first time in it's history the list is gender balanced at 50 women and 50 men. The list, now in its sixth year, comprises Africans from politics and public service; business and finance; civil society and activism; education; science, technology and innovation; media; arts and culture; and sport. It is collated by the magazine's global network of correspondents and industry insiders and has become an industry highlight, unveiling Africans who have shaped the African narrative along with those envisaged to play a big role in the coming year, both on the continent and in the diaspora.
The final 2018 tally sees a drop in the number of entries for politicians, despite one being on the cover of the magazine. With many reports indicating how gender parity improves the quality of governance, and in the year of #MeToo, along with Ethiopia having taken a lead by achieving gender parity in its cabinet and appointing its first female President, the magazine inadvertently saw the entries tally at a 50/50 ratio – the first time this has happened since the listing was introduced six years ago.