Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian billionaire businesswoman and is ranked as the richest woman in Nigeria by Forbes. She was born on the 15th of July 1951.
She has diverse business interests cutting across fashion, oil and gas, real estate and printing industries. The bulk of her wealth comes from oil and gas where she is the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.
Folorunso Alakija is also the group managing director of Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited, and Digital Reality Prints Limited. She holds a majority stake in DaySpring Property Development company.
She was listed as the second most powerful woman in Africa by Forbes magazine and 87th in the world as of 2015. Her net worth is currently put at $1 billion.
Early Life and Education
Folorunso was born on the 15th of July 1951 to the family of Chief L. A. Ogbara in Ikorodu, Lagos State. She had her Nursery education at Our Ladies of Apostles located in Lagos from 1955-1958. In 1959, aged 7 she relocated to the United Kingdom and continued her primary education at Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales. She was there till 1963 after which she returned home and had her secondary education at Muslim High School located in Sagamu, Ogun State, Nigeria.
Once again Folorunso made the journey back to the UK where she studied secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College, London.
After graduating from Pitman’s Central College, London, she returned home and started her career as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises located in Lagos in the year 1974. Later, Folorunso became a banker, working for First National Bank of Chicago which later became FinBank. FinBank has since been acquired by First City Monument Bank (FCMB).
She worked in the bank for a couple of years before starting a tailoring company called Supreme Stitches. The tailoring company blossomed and became a household name as Rose of Sharon House of Fashion. She soon became the personal fashion designer for the wife of General Gbadamosi Babangida, Maryam Babangida and many other high profile and well-to-do women.
Her success in the fashion industry made her become national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN). She excelled in this position. Folorunso Alakija struck gold when she applied for the allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) in May 1993.
Her company Famfa Limited won the license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block now known as OPL 216. Her company, Famfa Limited then entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited in September 1996 which saw Star Deep Water appointed as a technical adviser in exchange for 40% stake in the OPL. Soon they struck oil and the Nigerian government snatched initially took 40% of her stake from her.
Not done, the government again snatched another 10% of her stake. Folorunso then approached the courts and a 12 year battle soon ensued. She fought the government and won in court. She was awarded back her full 60% stake in the oil field. The Agbami oil field has been highly productive since it became operational in 2008 and is expected to operate up to 2024.
Folorunso Alakija is today the vice chairman of Famfa Oil which has Chevron and Petrobras as major partners. She is also the Managing Director of the Rose of Sharon Group, which includes world class printing company, Digital Reality Print Ltd and Dayspring Property Development Company Limited, a real estate firm.
Apart from her numerous business interests, Folorunso Alakija is well known for her philanthropic work which she carries out through her Rose of Sharon Foundation. She started the foundation in the month of May 2008 as a way of giving back to the society. Through the foundation, she assists orphans and widows by giving them business grants and scholarships.
In July 2013, she was was appointed vice chairman of the Nigerian National Heritage Council and Endowment for the Arts.
Marital Life and Family
She is happily married to a lawyer named Modupe Alakija of the popular Adeyemo Alakija family. The couple were joined in holy matrimony in November 1976. They have four sons and several grandchildren.
Folorunso and her husband live in Lagos.
Folorunso Alakija Net worth
Folorunso Alakija is ranked as the richest female in Nigeria and the second richest in Africa, behind Daughter of former Angolan President, Isabel Dos Santos.
Folorunso Alakija’s net worth is out at $1 billion currently. Her major source of income is oil and gas, with her net worth expected to improve with increase in prices in that sector. Fashion, Printing and Real estate are some of the other sources that bring in money for Nigeria’s richest woman.
Apart from being ranked as the richest woman in Nigeria and the second richest woman in Africa, Folorunso Alakija has also earned recognition for her philanthropic work.
Forbes in 2014 listed her as the 96th most powerful woman in the world. The following year, 2015, she was ranked 87th on Forbes list of world’s 100 most powerful women. She was the second African on that list, behind her compatriot, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. She has received numerous awards and recognition all over the country. She is indeed a blessing to this country.
Folorunso Alakija is a popular name in Nigeria and Africa as a whole due to her status as one of Africa’s richest women. She is today the richest woman in Nigeria and the second richest in Africa.
She started out as an executive secretary, later she became a banker, before eventually becoming a fashion designer and setting up her own company. She bid for and won an OPL which is today the major source of her wealth.
The bulk of her wealth comes from her stake in Famfa Limited which operates in Nigeria’s oil industry. She also has a real estate firm, a printing firm as well as a fashion design company. Her net worth as of today is put at $1 billion.