Meet Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija; Africa’s second-richest woman

Forbes World's 100 Most Powerful Women list


Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija is a remarkable Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist who has left an indelible mark on the world. As of December 2021, Forbes estimates her net worth at $2.1 billion, making her the second-richest woman in Africa. Alakija has consistently been listed among Forbes World’s 100 most powerful women. In 2014, she surpassed Oprah Winfrey as the world’s wealthiest black woman. She amassed a fortune of $3.3 billion, exceeding Oprah’s wealth by $300 million. Her business empire includes FAMFA Oil Limited, Dayspring Property Development Company Limited, and Digitalreality Print, among others.

Early Life and Background

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija was born on July 15, 1951, in a unique family with 8 wives and 52 children. Folorunsho’s mother was the first wife. At the age of seven, she went to the United Kingdom for her education. While in Nigeria, attended the Muslim High School in Sagamu, before pursuing secretarial studies at Pitman’s Central College in London. In November 1976, she married Modupe Alakija, and they now reside in Lagos, Nigeria, with their four sons.


Mrs. Alakija’s illustrious career commenced in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria. Folorunsho Alakija later joined the former First National Bank of Chicago (now part of First City Monument Bank) as the Executive Secretary to the Managing Director. She eventually assumed the role of Head of the Corporate Affairs Department at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly First National Bank of Chicago). Alakija later advanced to the Office Assistant to the Treasury Department.

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija’s passion for fashion design led her to pursue studies at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion. She founded a fashion label initially known as Supreme Stitches, which rapidly gained fame and later rebranded as The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. Folorunsho Alakija also served as the president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), where she made a significant impact, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style.

While she achieved substantial success in the fashion industry, a significant proportion of Folorunsho Alakija’s wealth stems from an oil exploration license granted to her company, Famfa Ltd., in 1993. This 617,000-acre oil block evolved into the highly lucrative OML 127, where Alakija’s family retains a 60% stake.

Folorunsho Alakija has been dedicated to serving Nigeria as a member of various committees. She is celebrated as an accomplished public speaker and author.  Her talents extend to writing, with several inspirational books, including her autobiography. Alakija also serves on the board of the Commonwealth Business Forum and has received numerous awards both locally and internationally.  She is also the first female Chancellor of a public university in Africa.

Commitment to Philanthropy

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija established of the Rose of Sharon Foundation, providing scholarships and business grants to widows and orphans. Her philanthropic efforts extended further with the donation of a skills acquisition centre to Yaba College of Technology, enriching educational and skill development opportunities in Nigeria.

Honours and Recognitions

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija’s contributions have garnered recognition. In July 2021, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, conferred upon her an honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration. She has consistently featured on Forbes World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list, a testament to her global influence.

Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija’s remarkable journey serves as an inspiration, encouraging us all to dream big, work tirelessly, and effect meaningful change. Her life stands as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the boundless potential within each of us to achieve greatness and leave an enduring legacy of positive impact on the world.

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