For years now, Oprah Winfrey has been lauded as one of the most significant business minds of our time. She has claimed the spot as the world’s wealthiest Black woman based on the media empire that she has built. This year, however, she has been dethroned as the world’s wealthiest Black woman by 62-year-old Nigerian, Folorunsho Alakija. Alakija’s $3.3 billion worth bested Oprah by about $300 million.
Alakija has amassed her wealth as a fashionista and oil tycoon in Nigeria. She started her career as a secretary in the now-defunct Merchant Bank of Nigeria before moving to England to study fashion in the early years of the 1980’s. After her studies, she returned back to Nigeria and set up Supreme Stitches, a high end fashion line.
While that served as a lucrative means of income, the bulk of Alkija’s wealth has come from her activities as an oil baroness. In 1993, her company, Famfa Ltd., was granted an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) which led to a 617,000 acre oil plot now known as OML 127. Alkija fought tooth and nail to retain a 60% stake in the plot which produces 200,000 barrels of oil a day after disputes with the government.
Thanks to her efforts, Alkija now owns an estimated $100 million in real estate properties. Her wealth also allowed her to purchase a Bombardier Global Express 6000 private jet priced at $46 million. Don’t think Alkija keeps the wealth to herself. She is also a philanthropist. Her Rose of Sharon Foundation is a Christian based organization that provides small grants to widows.