Aim: This paper discusses the development and progression of the advanced practice nurse practitioner role in Africa. Background: Providing adequate primary health care is problematic in Africa. The World Health Organization and International Council of Nurses proposed that nurses, specifically advanced practice nurse practitioners with the requisite skills in disease prevention, diagnosis and management, can be key to solving the primary care issue. Sources of evidence: This paper utilized publications from PUBMED, CINAHL, policy papers, websites, workgroups, conferences, and the experiences and knowledge of authors involved in leading and moving forward key events and projects. Discussion: Four African countries have formally adopted the advanced practice nurse practitioner role, with significant interest from countries throughout Africa, and ever-increasing requests for assistance regarding initiation, development and integration of advanced practice roles. Initiatives to advance the roles have been supported by the International Council of Nurses Nurse Practitioner/Advanced Practice Nurse Network and Global Academy of Research and Enterprise. Next steps and projects for future role development are discussed. Conclusions: There is a progression towards the adoption of the advanced practice nurse practitioner role in Africa, and further mechanisms are suggested to allow full uptake and utilization. Implications for nursing practice: Prioritization and investment in initiatives implementing nurse practitioner/advanced practice nurse roles in Africa allows nurses to pursue further education, advanced role and leadership opportunities consistent with Nursing Now goals. Implications for health policy: Implementation of nurse practitioner/advanced practice nurse roles increases the primary care workforce, consistent with recommendations and priorities in the World Health Organization Global Strategic Directions for Nursing and Midwifery 2021–2025 helping countries ensure that nurses optimally contribute to achieving universal health coverage and other population health goals.