Inspiration to African Women: Nigeria’s Alakija unseats Oprah as richest black woman in the world

Folorunso-AlakijaWith an estimated fortune of $3.3 billion, Nigerian oil business tycoon, Folorunsho Alakija has unseated American TV personality, Oprah Winfrey from the throne of the richest black woman in the world.

Alakija is worth at least $3.3 billion, about$300 million more than American television personality Oprah, Ventures Africa reports

Alakija’s winding path to becoming the richest black woman in the world began in London, where she pursued secretarial studies and fashion design as a young woman.

She started her corporate career as a Secretary with Sijuade Enterprises at the prestigious Western House, Broad Street, Lagos shortly after completing a Secretarial Course at Pitman’s Central College London. She later joined the First National Bank Of Chicago (today known as Finbank PLC) as the Executive Secretary to the Managing Director.

With diligence and hard work, Alakija the new Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (Formerly First National Bank of Chicago) and subsequently, rose to the position of an Office Assistant to the Treasury Department.

Shortly after her career spanning 12 years in the banking industry, Alakija took up a new challenge which she said was driven by her passion for fashion to study fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion.

Her return to Nigeria saw the birth of her first fashion label, Supreme Stiches which was later renamed The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in1996.  In 2001, the Fashion house started mass-producing tee-shirts and thus changed its name to The Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions.

She is also the executive vice-chairperson of Famfa Oil Limited, a Nigerian oil and gas exploration and production company.

Folorunsho with her husband Modupe Alakija, four sons and grand daughter.

Folorunsho with her husband Modupe Alakija, four sons and grand daughter.

As an indigenous company, Famfa Oil made its first application for an oil exploration and production licence in 1991. In collaboration with Texaco Nigeria Ltd (later taken over by Chevron Nigeria Ltd), it commenced full operations in 1996.

The company owns a 60-per-cent stake in the block, valued at around $7.3 billion, Ventures Africa has reported.

She is also the founder of The Rose of Sharon Foundation, Christian Non-Governmental Organisation committed to taking care of widows and orphans based in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Alakija is married to Modupe Alakija and they have four grown-up sons together.  She also has a grandchild from her first son. Modupe Alakija, her husband is the Chairman of Famfa Oil. Her sons run the company.




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