Each year, the prestigious Forbes magazine compiles a list of world’s most powerful people. The list for 2016 has seen little change – six out of ten of the world’s most powerful people are country leaders, while the remaining four are businessman or government officials.
We bring you the list of the world’s most powerful people in 2016.
10. Mark Zuckerberg
Occupation: CEO of Facebook
Chairman, CEO and co-founder of Facebook, the world’s most influential social media, Mark Zuckerberg is by far the youngest person to appear in this list. In addition to being one of the most powerful people in the world, Zuckerberg is also the fifth richest person on the planet, with a fortune estimated to be US$53.6 billion.
Zuckerberg’s influence on the world of social media and his impact on the global information revolution is almost incalculable. He will likely remain a figure of global importance in the years to come.
9. Narendra Modi
Occupation: Prime Minister of India
As the Prime Minister of the world’s second most populous country, Modi remains widely popular in India. Modi positioned himself as a populist leader who launched an extensive anti-corruption efforts, and also sought to improve the efficiency of India’s vast bureaucracy.
Despite his high popularity, Modi is a controversial figure because of his Hindu nationalist beliefs.
8. Larry Page
Occupation: CEO of Alphabet
A former CEO of Google, Page went to become the CEO of Alphabet, the newly created parent of Google and its sister companies. Page’s net worth has been estimated to be $41.6 billion in 2017. Page is one of the co-founders of Google, together with Sergey Brin.
7. Bill Gates
Occupation: Founder of Microsoft
With an estimated net worth of $85.6 billion in 2017, Bill Gates is currently the richest person in the world. Gates stepped down as Microsoft chairman in 2014, but remained a technology adviser and board member of the company.
He leads the world’s largest private charitable foundation, the aim of which is to save lives in the developing world through efforts to eliminate deathly diseases and promote education.
6. Janet Yellen
Occupation: Chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve
Yellen is the current chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the head of the central banking system of the United States. In her capacity as the Chair of Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Yellen exerts a significant influence over American monetary policy.
Since her appointment in 2014, she has been reluctant to raise domestic interest rates. Her efforts in stabilizing economic activity may prove important for reducing unemployment in the US, as well as fostering economic growth.
5. Pope Francis
Occupation: Head of the Roman Catholic Church
France is the 266th and the current Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He remains the spiritual leaders of nearly 1.3 billion people, which represent one-sixth of the world’s population. Since his election as Pope in 2013, Francis has made efforts to transform the image of the Roman Catholic Church and adapt it to the 21st century.
As Pope, Francis continues to balance between progressive and conservative forces within the Catholic Church.
4. Xi Jinping
Occupation: General Secretary of the Communist Party of China
Xi has assumed the leadership of the party in 2012, and soon launched an anti-corruption campaign within the ranks of the party. He continued to enact business-friendly reforms with the aim of expanding China’s economic power base.
During his leadership, China has taken a more aggressive stance in the region. China has significantly increased its military presence in the South China Sea, causing increased tensions with Japan and the U.S.
Unlike previous Chinese leaders, Xi has a more open and assertive public profile. His policies have been described as “economically liberal but politically conservative”.
3. Angela Merkel
Occupation: Chancellor of Germany
Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005. During her tenure, Germany has cemented its position as an economic powerhouse and a pillar of the European Union. Merkel’s progressive social policies have positioned Germany as one of the most liberal countries in the world. She was named the most powerful woman in the world in 2016 and was named Time magazine’s Person of the Year in 2015.
Merkel has enjoyed consistently high approval ratings, but domestic support for her policies plummeted as a result of the European refugee crisis and several terrorist attacks by Islamic militants.
2. Donald Trump
Occupation: President of the United States of America
Trump’s election as US President has been described as the biggest upset in U.S. political history. Formerly a business magnate and a reality TV star, Trump has emerged as a leader of the anti-establishment forces in the U.S.
After a long and controversial election campaign – unprecedented in U.S. history, Trump beat the much favored Democrat, Hillary Clinton, to become the 45th U.S. President.
Trump’s brash, combative style has earned him a status of a deeply divisive figure, both domestically and abroad. He promised to restore the position of the U.S as the world’s foremost military power, reduce illegal immigration, cut taxes and revitalize home industry.
Trump’s unexpected rise to power has changed the dynamics of global politics, and he will likely remain a key figure on the world stage in the near future.
1. Vladimir Putin
Occupation: President of Russia
Russian President Vladimir Putin made it to the top of the world’s most powerful people list for the fourth year in the row. Putin was President of Russia from 2000 to 2008, and was re-elected in 2012. His years in power marked the re-emergence of Russia as a global power, as well as significant economic growth.
During his first term, Putin maintained relatively good relations with the West, despite significant differences. However, following the crisis in Ukraine and the Russian annexation of Crimea, diplomatic relations between Russia and the West plummeted to Cold War levels. Putin oversaw the Russian military intervention in Syria, which prevented the fall of the Assad regime and shifted the balance of power in the Middle East.
Putin also forged a strategic alliance with China, positioned Russia as an energy giant and restored the image of his country as a key player on the global stage.