AFRICANGLOBE – Despite falling oil prices, Nigerian Billionaire, Folorunsho Alakija has edged past Oprah Winfery as world’s richest Black Woman, with a fortune of $7.3bn. On the other hand, Oprah Winfrey is worth $2.9billion, according to Forbes.
According to Ventures Africa magazine’s Rich List, Alakija generated her wealth from oil and gas.
“It is widely believed that Alakija’s friendship with Maryam Babangida, the late wife of former head of state, Ibrahim Babangida, played a huge role in her relatively inexpensive acquisition of the oil block back in 1993,” the magazine noted.
United Kingdom-based Business Consultant, Philip Obi cautions that Alakija’s stand is shaky because oil is fast losing value in the face of falling oil prices. “Except she decides to diversify, 90% wealth in oil look unsteady considering the alternative energy potential,” Obi said.
“The world is going digital. Very soon, wealth will no longer be what we use to know; look at Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. That is where the world is going into- Digital world. The people who will continue to rule will be those in communications, food and health, social media, finance. These pillars are going to be critical to run the world. People are becoming multi- millionaire by just building smile apps.”
For his part, National President of Independent Shareholders Association (ISAN), Sunny Nwosu said that her ranking as world’s richest Black woman is understandable because she has one of the biggest oil wells in the country that is managed on her behalf by a leading multinational oil corporation.
“Her oil well is one of the investments the military government bequeathed to people like her,” Nwosu said.
According to Ventures Africa, Africa boasts 55 billionaires and they’re worth a staggering $143.88 billion in total.
Alakija started her career as a secretary in a bank in the mid 1970s, Alakija, 62, then studied fashion in London and returned to Nigeria to start a label, Supreme Stitches. But her biggest break came in oil. In 1993, her company, Famfa Oil, was awarded an oil prospecting license, which later became OML 127, one of Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks
The company owns a 60 per cent stake in the block, valued at around $7.3 billion, said Ventures Africa.
By: Kingsley Alu