Of course, this is by no means an official or an exhaustive list. But these are 10 women, all under age 45, who wield enormous influence in African business, technology, policy and media. They are change makers, trendsetters, visionaries and thinkers, builders, and young global leaders. They are at the vanguard of Africa’s imminent socio-economic revolution and its contemporary renaissance.
1.ORY OKOLLOH KENYAN. FOUNDER, USHAHIDI
A Harvard-trained lawyer, activist and blogger, Kenyan-born Ory Okolloh spearheaded the founding of Ushahidi, a revolutionary crowd sourcing utility that enables citizen journalists and eyewitnesses all over the world to report incidences of violence through the web, mobile E-mail, SMS, and Twitter.
2.CHIMAMANDA ADICHIE NIGERIAN. WRITER
One of Africa’s leading contemporary literary voices, the Award-winning Nigerian writer has been heralded as a rebirth of the African literary greats – the likes of Chinua Achebe, Camara Laye and Cyprian Ekwensi.
3.YOLANDA CUBA SOUTH AFRICAN. CORPORATE EXECUTIVE
When Yolanda Cuba was only 29, she was appointed CEO of Mvelaphanda Group, a conglomerate listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. She stepped down last year, but still remains one of South Africa’s most respected and sought-after business leaders. She serves on the boards of South African blue-chips like ABSA, Steinhoff and Life Healthcare.
4.NDIDI NWUNELI NIGERIAN. SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
Ndidi founded LEAP Africa – a leading nonprofit that provides social entrepreneurs, youth and small scale business owners with leadership training and executive coaching services. She is also a co-founder of AACE Foods, a Nigerian food processor.
5.DAMBISA MOYO ZAMBIAN. ECONOMIST
The Zambian-born economist and New York Times international best-selling author. Her most recent book is Dead Aid: Why Aid Is Not Working. She is one of Africa’s most vocal advocates for the abolition of foreign aid. In March 2011, during the annual Observance ceremony in commemoration of the Commonwealth Day in Westminster Abbey, Moyo addressed an audience of some 2,000 guests including Queen Elizabeth II and British Prime Minister David Cameron. She sits on the board of Barclays Bank, SABMiller and Lundin Petroleum.
6.KHANYI NDHLOMO SOUTH AFRICAN. MEDIA MOGUL
One of South Africa’s most respected media moguls. She owns Ndalo Media, which publishes Destiny Magazine and Destiny Man, two thriving high-end magazines that combine business and lifestyle content to cater to successful, professional, stylish and intellectually curious men and women
7.PHUTI MALABIE SOUTH AFRICAN. CEO, SHANDUKA GROUP
In 2008, the Wall Street Journal named Phuti as one of 50 women in the world to watch. In 2007, she was selected by the World Economic Forum as a Global Young Leader. Malabie currently serves as CEO of the Shanduka Group; one of South Africa’s largest African black owned and managed investment holding companies.
8.FUNMI IYANDA NIGERIAN. JOURNALIST & BROADCASTER
Iyanda is a multi-award-winning journalist, broadcaster and blogger. She is the host of Talk With Funmi, a popular TV show that journeys through Nigeria, from state to state, capturing people and conversations around the country. She is an African Leadership Institute Tutu Fellow and a fellow of the ASPEN Institute’s African Leadership Initiative.
9.ISIS NYONGO KENYAN. MANAGING DIRECTOR, INMOBI AFRICA
Isis Nyongo is the Vice President and Managing Director of InMobi, the world’s largest independent mobile advertising network. Prior to her appointment earlier this year, Isis served as the Business Development Manager for Google’s operation in Africa. She spearheaded mobile partnerships and played a pivotal role in the development of Google’s content strategy in Africa.
10. BETHLEHEM TILAHUN ALEMU ETHIOPIAN. ENTREPRENEUR
Ethiopian-born entrepreneur was recently named the ‘African Businesswoman of the Year’ by African Business Magazine, a leading pan African business magazine. She is the founder of Sole Rebels, a brand of eco-friendly shoes and sandals made in Ethiopia. She was also named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum earlier this year.