By Osagie Alonge
A Nigerian businesswoman Folorunsho Alakija has kicked media mogul Oprah Winfrey off the number one spot on the table of the ‘Richest Black Women in the World’, this is according to a report published by Ventures Africa, an African business magazine and news services.
Forbes tells us Alakija, 61, is worth at least $3.3bn which stands contrary to a recent Forbes Magazine ranking which places her net worth at only $600m.
Ventures Africa says Alakija is $500m richer than Oprah, whose wealth was estimated at $2.7b in September.
Folorunsho Alakija is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil company which owns a 60 percent working interest in OML 127 that produces about 200,000 barrels a day.
Born into a polygamous Nigerian family, she started out her professional career in the mid-70s as a secretary at the now defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, one of the Nigeria’s earliest investment banks.
In the early 80s, Alakija quit her job and went on to study ‘Fashion Design’ in England, returning to Nigeria shortly afterwards to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label which catered exclusively to upscale clientele. The business thrived, and Alakija quickly made a tidy fortune selling high-end Nigerian clothing to fashionable wives of military bigwigs and society women.
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.
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