Biography Money/Finance

Africa’s Richest Woman: Folorunso Alakija

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Folorunso Alakija (born July 15, 1951, Ikorodu, Lagos State, Nigeria Protectorate is a Nigerian business tycoon, known for Philanthropy one of the richest African women, and one of the richest black women in the world. In 2014, she temporarily unseated Oprah Winfrey. as the richest woman of African descent in the world. She is a business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil and printing industries. She is the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited and the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited. Alakija is ranked by Forbes as the richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion.  As of 2015, she is listed as the second most powerful woman in Africa after Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and the 87th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes. 

Early Life and Education

Folorunsho was born on 15 July 1951 to the family of Chief L. A. Ogbara in Ikorodu, Lagos State. At age seven, she travelled to the United Kingdom to begin a four-year primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales. After returning to Nigeria, she attended Muslim High School Sagamu Ogun State, Nigeria. Afterwards, she returned abroad for her secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London. She also studied fashion design at the American College, London and the Central School of Fashion.

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Folorunsho started her career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos, Nigeria. She moved on to the former First National Bank of Chicago, now FinBank now acquired by FCMB ( First City Monument Bank) where she worked for some years before establishing a tailoring company called Supreme Stitches. It 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, Folorunsho applied for the 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 of Nigeria in the Agbami Field of 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. On 9 March 2016, Nigeria had its first female chancellor as she became the chancellor of Osun State University.


Philanthropic interests

Folorunsho has a foundation called the Rose of Sharon Foundation that helps widows and orphans by empowering them through scholarships and business grants. Her company is also a major sponsor of the Agbami medical and engineering scholarship scheme, one of the most reliable scholarship schemes in Nigeria with over a thousand people yearly as beneficiaries. Mrs Alakija is a fervent supporter of education in Nigeria; for example in 2014 she donated a substantial amount of money to Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida University Lapai, the Niger State University. The money was used to complete the construction of a 350 Seat Lecture Theater, which was named after her.

On 1 July 2013, the federal government of Nigeria inaugurated the National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts and appointed Alakija as vice-chairman of the body. While inaugurating the council, Nigeria’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Edem Duke, said Nigeria had identified 100 new heritage sites, which “are unique and uncommon assets that we intend to preserve and promote.” He charged the council, which is headed by Igho Sanomi, to “ensure the protection and conservation of places and objects of heritage significance and the registration of such places and objects.” She serves as the Chief Matron of Africa’s Young Entrepreneurs. 

Personal Life

Folorunsho Alakija is married to a lawyer, Mr Modupe Alakija in November 1976. The couple resides in Lagos, Nigeria with their four sons and grandchildren. Her nephew is Nigerian, DJ Xclusive.

Folorunsho Alakija house

Folorunsho Alakija is a name every person in Nigeria, Africa, and possibly the world is familiar with. Folorunsho has the honour of being the richest woman of African descent in the world, having recently surpassed Oprah Winfrey. Mrs Alakija doesn’t like to show off her enormous wealth, but she still enjoys the benefits of being one of the richest people in Africa. While there is more than one Folorunsho Alakija house in Lagos, her main residence is in Ikoyi. Since the businesswoman has ties in the construction business, her name is attached to many building projects, but none of them is as outstanding as the Folorunsho Alakija house Ikoyi.It’s worth noting that, according to an inside source, the construction of the house cost a whopping $700,000,000, which is more than most celebrity houses in Lagos cost. Part of the incredible expenses used in the construction is that the whole building is believed to be bulletproof.

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The project was carried out by a German construction giant Julius Berger, a company behind many of the world’s most expensive and famous residential buildings. The architecture of the building is being presided over by Adeniyi Coker Consultants Limited, whose work can be instantly recognized by the sleek lines and a masterful use of natural light.


Net worth of Folorunsho Alakija

The famous business tycoon is estimated to be worth of $2.1 billion by Forbes.