How Alakija, richest black woman in the world, made her money
61-year-old billionaire business woman Folorunsho Alakija owner of FAMFA Oil Limited who is estimatedto be worth $3.2billion started her journey to become a millionaire as a secretaryfor International Merchant Bank of Nigeriain the 80s. She later left the now defunct bank to study Fashion Design in London and later started fashion designing before she ventured into oil business.
Supreme Stitches Designing Company patronised by a large base of wealthy clients grew and from thereAlakijastarted selling designer clothing to military wives and socialites where she made millions of naira at the same time it provided her with the platform to move to oil.
Alakija who is quite the fashion plate made her mark in the fashion industry as one of the pioneers of Nigerian fashion and one of the members of Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FDAN).
The well-heeled businesswoman and philanthropist made the switch to oil in 1993 and the rest is history. But when you have out-earned the Queen of All Media by approximately $500 million, you are allowed to wear whatever you want.
Reports have shown that Alakija owns at least $100 million in real estate and a $46 million private jet may eclipse Oprah’s by half a billion dollars or more, who lost her place as the richest black woman.
Though Forbes lists the 61-year-old oil tycoon’s worth at $600 million dollars, her properties can be valued between $3.3 and $6.44 billion. Despite the fact that she made the bulk of her fortune through oil, Alakija has worked in a number of different industries, being called “one of the foremost pioneers of Nigerian fashion.”
In 1993, Alakija applied for an Oil Prospecting License (OPL) through her company Famfa Oil. The Nigerian granted Famfa a license to prospect on a 617,000 acre block of land in the Niger Delta. Famfa’s oil properties, now known as OML 127, eventually came to be worth billions, with Alakija holding a 60 percent stake.
When the Nigerian government discovered the full value of the land in 2000, the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) seized OML 127 illegally, without paying Famfa Oil for the forced acquisition of 50 percent of the oil reserves. Alakija spent years in court fighting the illegal seizure, but in May 2012 Famfa was finally granted control of the other half of its property from the government, propelling Alakija back into the category of the worst’s highest earners.
Alakija also participates in philanthropic work, having founded the rose of Sharon Foundation, a group that offers grants to widowed women in Nigeria. Her husband Modupe is the chairman of Famfa Oil, and runs the company along with her children.