It is hard to see women being ranked high in earnings and wealth in a world where those lists are dominated by men. Oprah Winfrey is the only woman you can confidently say has what it takes to make that list. But do you know that there is another woman who, at a time was richer than Oprah Winfrey? allow me to introduce you to the richest woman in Nigeria and Africa – Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija.
Folorunsho Alakija was born on the 15th of July 1951 in Ikorodu, Lagos. Her parents sent her to the United Kingdom at the age of seven to school. She returned to Nigeria after spending four years in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales. After schooling in Wales, she later attended Muslim high school Sagamu in Ogun state. At the age of 17, she traveled to Pitman`s Central College in London for her secretarial studies and then studied fashion design at the American college, London and central school of fashion.
She started as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprise in Lagos at 23. Thereafter, she moved to First City Monument Bank where she worked for a couple of years and established her own fashion company called Supreme Stitches. Her specialty involves fashion demands for high-class Nigerians. Business became successful within a short period of time and she became popular in the country.
Love came around and she got married to Modupe Alakija in 1976. Modupe is a lawyer and they now have four sons and grandchildren. Her fashion company became one of a kind in the country. Her fashion company earned her an award due to its contribution to the Nigerian fashion industry in 1986.
In 1993, Folorunsho Alakija applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license for her oil company, Famfa oil limited. She was granted oil license to explore for oil on 617,000 acres at around 220 miles from Lagos. After years of fighting the Nigerian government, she kept her oil bloc. The stakes were high but she fought with all her strength and later won the case. Famfa oil sealed a cooperative agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum in 1996 and she donated an undisclosed amount to IBB University in 2014. The university later named a lecture theater after Folorunsho. She became the richest black woman in the world temporarily leapfrogging Oprah Winfrey in 2014 and became the first appointed female chancellor in 2016. Folorunsho Alakija was listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world in the same year.
She was estimated to be worth 1.5 billion dollars as at August 2018 with most of her fortune being made from Famfa oil limited. Her net worth rose 2.1 billion dollars but didn’t last for long in 2014. The fall in the global oil price due to excess production by OPEC members led to a reduction in her net worth in 2015.
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