Move over Oprah. There may be a new financial queen of the hill.
According to Ventures Africa, a news and business publication on the continent, a Nigerian fashion designer and oil tycoon (what a combination!) named Folorunsho Alakija may well be the world’s richest black woman, a title Winfrey has held for years.
A press release on the San Francisco Chronicle‘s website outlining the story puts Alakija’s worth at an estimated $3.3 billion. At last count by Forbes magazine, Winfrey’s worth is estimated at $2.7 billion. That would make 61-year-old Alakija $500 million richer than the American media mogul. Alakija is the founder and owner of Famfa Oil. Famfa, reports Ventures, owns a 60 percent working interest in OML 127, an offshore oil field that pumps out 200,000 barrels of oil per day.
Douglas Imaralu, online editor of Ventures Africa, explained, “When we did the math… we came to the realization that Alakija’s stake is easily worth billions of dollars. At this point, we have no doubt that she is indeed, richer than Oprah.”
Forbes still lists Alakija as the richest women in Nigeria. “[Alakija's] biggest break came in oil,” the magazine says.
“In 1993 Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida awarded her company, Famfa Oil, an oil prospecting license which went on to become OML 127, one of Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks. Famfa Oil owned a 60% stake in the block until 2000 when the Nigerian government, led by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, unconstitutionally acquired a 50% interest in the block without duly compensating Alakija or her company.”
She fought the stake acquisition in court and won in May 2012 when the Nigerian Supreme Court reinstated the 50 percent stake to Famfa Oil. Her fashion company, reports Forbes, is Supreme Stitches, which she founded in the 1980s to cater to upscale clientele.