They're under age 45; they're economically, politically and socially powerful; and according to Forbes, which pulled together the list of "20 Youngest Power Women in Africa for 2012" list, each of them is shaping the narrative of the continent's rise.
From television personalities and entrepreneurs, to activists and leaders in the nonprofit sector, these are leaders who anyone interested in Africa (or the world, for that matter) should keep an eye on. From Forbes:
Leymah Gbowee, Liberia, Peace and Women's Rights Activist
The peace activist was one of three female recipients who were awarded the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize "for non-violent struggle for the safety of women and for women's rights to full participation in peace-building work.” Gbowee helped organize and lead the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, an alliance of Christian and Muslim women, in public protest during Liberia's tumultuous times.
Cina Lawson, Togo, Minister of Post and Telecommunications, Togo
Lawson is currently the Minister of Post and Telecommunications of Togo. Prior to her appointment, Lawson was a Manager of Corporate Strategy and Business Development at the France Telecom/Orange Group in New York City and Alcatel-Lucent in Paris. Lawson began her career in telecommunications at the World Bank in Washington DC where she focused on regulatory reforms for developing nations …
Juliana Rotich, Kenya, Co-Founder Ushahidi
Rotich is Co-Founder and Executive Director of Ushahidi, a Nairobi-based tech company that specializes in developing free and open source software that aggregates and curates crisis data on a real-time basis and collates the data into live, interactive maps.
Patience Mthunzi, PhD. South Africa, Senior Scientist, CSIR
Born in Orlando West, Soweto, Dr. Mthunzi is currently South Africa's only Senior Scientist for the Biophotonics Research Group within the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) National Laser Center in biophotonics — a field of study that enables microscopic study of biological molecules, cells and tissue using laser.
Read the entire list at Forbes.