She is sleek, stylish, vibrant and extremely classy! Mrs Folorunso Alakija, an influential Nigerian frontline socialite crept once again into the international limelight when an International Media Magazine featured her profile, celebrating her as a worthy World woman of note, and dotting her as the richest Black woman living today. Though very reserved and extremely cautious as a self respected married woman, always mindful of her world and actions, she remains an enigma. She is one of the greatest icon in Nigeria’s social scene and a fashion icon, model, business empowerer and a philanthropist. She lately being being celebrated across the world as a woman of immense influence with assets that is worth more than the yearly budget of many small African nations. Alakija is a former President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and founder of Rose of Sharon, a leading fashion Establishment. She is also the Executive Vice Chairman of Famfa Oil $ Gas Limited. Happily married with four grown-up young men, Alakija is also a grandmother combining beauty and brain, hard work and influence. Her modesty, humility and respect for a credible marital life remain untainted as she claims that contrary to today widely held opinion, money doesn’t guarrantee good marriage and happiness. According to her: “Money has nothing to do with love. Love comes from within. Money is something you acquire along the line..
She is $500 million richer than Oprah Winfrey who is the former richest black woman. Oprah’s wealth as estimated by Forbes magazine was $2.7 billion in September.
Folorunsho Alakija is one of two women who made it to Forbes magazine list of Africa’s 40 Richest. She ranked 24th with a net worth of $ 600 Million from the oil sector.
Alakija was born into a wealthy, polygamous home; her father had 8 wives and 52 children in his lifetime.
According to Alakija, she sometimes felt that her father was stricter to her than to her 51 siblings. Regardless, she lovingly remembers her parents’ investment in education and cultural upbringing that continue to shape her till today.
She started her career journey as a banking executive then turned into a fashion designer and ended up as an oil magnate. She braved a successful mixture of banking, fashion and oil.
The now married mother of four grown-up sons is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil company which owns a 60% working interest in OML 127, an offshore oil field which produces 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
An incomplete list of what she owns include a £64M flat in One Hyde Park, London and a $46 million private jet – a Bombardier Global Express 6000, which she purchased earlier this year.
When asked about how she manages to combine marriage and affluence, Alakija said: “Money has nothing to do with love. Love comes from within. Money is something you acquire along the line. Only love keeps people together. From the time that we started courting, it has been like that, and we thank God that to His glory, we’ve known one another for 40 years. I pray also that God continues to unite us. I believe that if love is the foundation of a union, God will prove Himself faithful.”
And when asked if she ever finds time to go into the kitchen amidst her busy schedule; Alikija replied;“Absolutely! Just yesterday, I still cooked beans for my church fellowship members. I always cook when my husband is in the country. I’ve had cooks for years, but there’s always a difference when you add your own personal touch.”
The African Economist congratulates Madam Folorunsho Alakija, as we continue to celebrate and highlight African innovative, entrepreneurial spirit and the returns that come from hard work.
Mrs. Folorunso Alakija, and her better-half, Modupe,
Source: African Business Forum