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Folorunsho Alakija

Well it had to happen sooner or later. Oprah, who according to Forbes is worth $2.3 billion,  is no longer the richest black woman in the world, thanks to Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, who’s worth $7.3 billion. Alakija wasn’t always in the booming business of oil.

From Ventures Africa:

In our inaugural ranking of Africa’s richest people, which we published on Monday, we place Alakija as the fourth richest person in Africa with a fortune we estimate at $7.3 billion.

Here’s our rationale: In March this year, Petrobas, a Brazilian oil company that owns an 8 percent working interest in OML 127 in which Alakija owns 60 percent, announced that it was actively looking to dispose of its stake for a figure in the region of $1.5 – $2.5 billion. According to sources at Petrobas, there are a number of interested suitors for the stake. The Reuters report is available here.

Since we prefer to be as conservative as possible, we take the low-end and assume that they will fetch $1billion for the stake. If their 8 percent fetches them $1 billion, then Alakija’s 60 percent is worth over $7.3 billion. Alakija also owns a Bombardier Jet as well as a large collection of prime real estate in Nigeria and London.

Alakija was born into a wealthy, polygamous Nigerian family. She started out her professional career in the mid 70s as a secretary at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria and in the early 80s, she quit her job and went on to study Fashion design in England. She returned to Nigeria shortly afterwards to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label that catered exclusively to upscale clientele, including Maryam Babangida, the wife of Nigeria’s former military President Ibrahim Babangida. Leveraging on this proximity to power, she acquired an oil prospecting license – the basis of her enormous fortune today.

Riches aside, Alakija also founded Rose of Sharon Foundation, a NGO focused on alleviating the plight of widows and orphans.

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  • Echi

    Another Nigerian commenting – though none of us can speak for all Nigerians. But the news of her being the wealthiest black woman in the world does NOT make me proud. While she enriches her coffers the people who live in the oil-producing regions of Nigeria (not her or her family) live in abject poverty. The lands of the Niger Delta have been raped by foreign oil companies and families like hers profit daily from the tragedy.

    • crisak

      While Ophrah reigned as the richest, there was/is the listing of her social impact/contributions to her society and beyond! She is known to give scholarships and even helped to build, fund and run a female school ( American standard) in south Africa till date! No one is unhappy about Alakija’s fortune! We only need to know how she is/will positively impact the immediate society that built her the wealth! Great achievement ma! Kudos! and more grease to that elbow! We can right now build and run an agro based company that employs over 500 individuals at Bodija or Akpata! We could also start the first fully equipped online schools from Ajah! Better still, a foundation to give five best graduating engineering students who could help run your industry in the nearest future!

    • ThomasThumb

      Welcome to the American world… Not that im supporting her but keep in mind all the richest people in America do the same thing. It’s not just her.

      Although i will confess we may not have it as bad off as other countries because our country does get some tax money from the wealthy. But still…

  • pat da

    It is true that rich people should be also philantropists.

    • allen

      Did you meanphilanthropist?

    • nura

      Then there is “no me in mean “for alakija but there is an “I” in alak i ja, i dare not forget.

    • Whatfor

      what for…….. even 8 billion couldn’t solve the worlds problems. It’s the poor and middle class that need to support each other and stop giving all of our money to people like this.

  • Jessica2248

    Auntie??? Is that you??/ LOL!

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  • Sophie Kiwelu

    This is awesome. A young woman as she looks as immersed such massive wealth and in a clean way. Congratulations! I thank God for ordering her steps to establish the Rose of Sharon to take care of the plight of widows and orphans.