Africa’s most powerful woman
Forbes recently released a list of its most powerful people, and one of the Africans that emerged in it was Nigerian billionaire Folorunsho Alakija. Alakija has appeared on more than one Forbes list: Coming in at #80 in “Power Women,” #4 in Nigeria’s richest list, and #13 in Africa’s 50 Richest from 2015. The 65-year-old woman got her wealth from oil and other self made ventures. She started in fashion before moving on to become an oil mogul.
Alakija was born into a wealthy family and started out as secretary at a Nigerian bank. She later left her job to study fashion design in the United Kingdom. When she returned to Nigeria, she launched a luxury fashion label catering to elite clientele from the government. It was apparently through the connections that came in from the fashion design that Alakija was awarded an oil prospecting license after she applied for the license. This license is said to be the source of her enormous wealth today that Forbes places at $1.71 billion.
The mother and grandmother of four has said that she did not go to university. However, her business sense led to her effectively managing an oil bloc despite the lack of expertise. Now, she is the vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company. Famfa Oil partners with Chevron, and Petrobas Alakija’s placement on the list puts her ahead of presidents Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Ameenah Gurib-Fakim of Liberia and Mauritius, respectively.
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