Folorunsho Alakija is a 61 year who is worth about $3.3 billion and is the current richest black woman. She is $500 million richer than Oprah Winfrey who is the former richest black woman. Oprah’s wealth as estimated by Forbes magazine was $2.7 billion in September.
Folorunsho Alakija is one of two women who made it to Forbes magazine list of Africa’s 40 Richest. She ranked 24th with a net worth of $ 600 Million from the oil sector.
Alakija was born into a wealthy, polygamous home; her father had 8 wives and 52 children in his lifetime. According to Alakija, she sometimes felt that her father was stricter to her than to her 51 siblings. Regardless, she lovingly remembers her parents’ investment in education and cultural upbringing that continue to shape her till today. She started her career journey as a banking executive then turned to a fashion designer and ended up as an oil magnate…speaking of a successful mixture of banking, fashion and oil.
The now married mother of four grown-up sons is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil company which owns a 60% working interest in OML 127, an offshore oil field which produces 200,000 barrels of oil per day. An incomplete list of what she owns include a £64M flat in One Hyde Park, London and a $46 million private jet - a Bombardier Global Express 6000, which she purchased earlier this year.
When asked on how she manages to combine marriage and affluence Alakija said: “Money has nothing to do with love. Love comes from within. Money is something you acquire along the line. Only love keeps people together. From the time that we started courting, it has been like that, and we thank God that to His glory, we’ve known one another for 40 years. I pray also that God continues to unite us. I believe that if love is the foundation of a union, God will prove Himself faithful.”
And when asked if she ever finds time to go into the kitchen amidst her busy schedule; Alikija replied;“Absolutely! Just yesterday, I still cooked beans for my church fellowship members. I always cook when my husband is in the country. I’ve had cooks for years, but there’s always a difference when you add your own personal touch.”
The African Economist congratulates Madam Folorunsho Alakija, as we continue to celebrate and highlight African innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and the returns that come from hard work.