VENTURES AFRICA/Africa’s Secret Millionaires – Move over, Oprah – there is a new richest black woman in the world. And she’s Nigerian.
Meet Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian billionaire oil tycoon, Fashion designer and philanthropist who is worth at least $3.3 billion- contrary to a recent Forbes Magazine ranking which pegs her net worth at only $600 million.
Alakija, 61, was born into a wealthy, polygamous Nigerian family. She started out her professional career in the mid 70s as a secretary at the now defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, one of the country’s earliest investment banks. In the early 80s, Alakija quit her job and went on to study Fashion design in England, returning to Nigeria shortly afterwards to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label which catered exclusively to upscale clientele.
The business thrived, and Alakija quickly made a tidy fortune selling high-end Nigerian clothing to fashionable wives of military bigwigs and society women.
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