The charmed life of Folorunsho Alakija


Vanity Fair did a sprawling and extremely in-depth feature in their April 2013 issue on the worldwide millionaires who are buying up flats and property in London, one of the most expensive cities in the world. I was reading this feature intently and there was a fascinating chunk about Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian female billionaire, and one of the continent’s only 2 female billionaires (the other is Isobel dos Santos, daughter of Angola’s current president). Here’s an excerpt from the feature:

In fact, land-registry documents show that five apartments, for a combined $123 million, are owned by companies under the Rose of Sharon name, all based in the Isle of Man. These have been widely reported to be owned by Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian billionaire who is a part-owner of Famfa Oil Ltd. (Efforts to contact her were unsuccessful.) According to an industry risk profile of the company, Famfa received 600,000 barrels of oil per month from the giant Nigerian deepwater Agbami oil field in the first four months of 2010, in partnership with the U.S. oil company Chevron, in a longer-term agreement. The report cites a Nigerian Department for Petroleum Resources source as saying that Alakija was “one of the [Nigerian] First Lady’s favorite dress designers” and that Alakija’s stake in Famfa was “a reward to a loyal friend.” Forbes ranked Alakija’s net worth at $600 million, but last year Ventures Africa, a business magazine, recalculated it based on public information at $3.3 billion, making her richer than Oprah Winfrey.

Alakija is an extremely successful businesswoman who first did fashion in Nigeria and branched out into oil where her wealth exploded. I saw an interview of her talking to a CNN reporter discussing about how she made it and one thing really struck me, African woman do have chances to go out there and go get it but we need to just get it done. You can find the interview on YouTube, check it out and you will see that impression from her that she just went out there and got what she thought she should get.

When I read stories like this, it does inspire me to just go out there and keep going with my fledging company especially when I feel so worried and stressed at times. I say if she wants to buy $100m+ of property in London, more power to her. It’s great to see more successful female entrepreneurs.

What are your thoughts?


2 thoughts on “The charmed life of Folorunsho Alakija

  1. Very interesting. Never heard of her before. It’s nice to see women of colour doing well. My only concern is that it hopefully wasn’t done off the backs of others (like so many wealthy males do).

    Thanks for this; you learn something new every day.

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