Is there a Black woman on Earth richer than Oprah Winfrey? According to Forbes magazine, Folorunsho Alakija has a net worth of around $3.5 billion and if that’s true, the Nigerian born business woman is a tad bit wealthier than the Queen of Talk.
Reportedly, Alakija, who was also born into a very wealthy family, made her millions drilling oil as the owner of FAMFA Oil Limited. Her first and true passion however is fashion.
Alakija, 61, delve into the glamor industry after studying fashion and design in England in the ’80s. She then founded the Nigerian clothing label Supreme Stitches where her one-of-a-kind creations were strictly sported by Africa’s upper echelon. Today the business savvy fashion guru is the premier designer in Nigeria.
Ventures Africa magazine reported that Alakija also owns a staggering $100 million in real estate and a $46 million private jet. Now, here is a summary of her business background according to Wikepedia.com which reveals a Chicago connection!
Folorunsho Alakja started her career in 1974 as an Executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises in Nigeria. She left this job and joined First National Bank of Chicago as the executive Secretary to the Managing Director. She stayed in Banking for many years through mergers and name changes in the organization. Eventually she became the corporate affairs manager of International Merchant Bank of Nigeria Limited (IMB). In 1983 however, she moved into core banking when she joined the Treasury department as a money market treasurer working as an assistant to the officers. Supreme Stitches rose to prominence and fame within a few years, and as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, became a household name. As National President and lifelong Trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian Culture through fashion and style.
In May 1993, Alakija applied for an allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL). The license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block – (now referred to as OPL 216) was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited. The block is located approximately 220 miles South East of Lagos and 70 miles offshore Nigeria in the central Niger Delta. In September 1996, she entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco) and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep.
Subsequently, Star Deep sold off 8 percent of its stake in OPL 216 to Petrobras, a Brazilian company. Folorunsho Alakija and her family owned 60 percent.
By Larissa M. Tyler