Women may not measure up to men in terms of wealth but they have been making huge fortunes all over the world. They are women of substance who have defied all the odds to make or keep wealth. According to Forbes, out of the 2,668 billionaires in 2022, only about 327, down from 328 last year are women.
Out of the 327 women, 226 inherited their wealth, including the world’s three richest women. Notwithstanding how they got the money, it is important to note that these women hit and maintained their spots because they know how to invest and expand their wealth in multiple ventures.
This piece shall reveal the top 10 richest women in Nigeria, Africa and the world.
Top 10 richest women in Nigeria
Nigeria is a difficult country to make wealth. Women in particular have to struggle to make it in the highly patriarchal society. Some have been able to stand out in their quest for wealth and we will list them here. Therefore, here are the top 10 richest women in Nigeria:
1. Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunsho Alakija is the richest woman in Nigeria with a net worth of N639 billion ($1.54bn) according to Forbes. She is a businesswoman and philanthropist who made her fortunes through fashion, oil, real estate, and printing industries.
Born to an upper-middle-class family on July 15, 1951, Alakija attended Pitman’s Central College, London for her Secretarial Studies. She began her career as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises, Lagos State, Nigeria in 1974. She later became the Executive Secretary to the managing director of FinBank now acquired by FCMB (First City Monument Bank). In her 12-year career in the banking sector, she became the new Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly First National Bank of Chicago), and later Office Assistant to the Treasury Department.
Alakija left banking and established a fashion business after studying fashion design at The American College in London and the Central School of Fashion. She founded The Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996 which became a household name in Nigeria. She became the national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), a platform she used to promote Nigerian culture through style and fashion.
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A license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre bloc now known as OPL 216 was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited after she applied in May 1993. In 2014, she was listed as the 96th most powerful woman in the world and the world’s 100 most powerful women alongside Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Forbes.
Apart from her wealth, Alakija is known for her spiritual life as she has attributed her success to God’s glory. She also owns the Rose of Sharon Foundation where she empowers widows and orphans with scholarships and business grants. Thousands have benefitted from her foundation.
Alakija has a fleet of expensive cars, and the Alakija Mansion located in Ikoyi, Lagos State is the most expensive house in Nigeria, estimated at N10 billion.
2. Bola Shagaya
Hajia Bola Muinat Shagaya is the second richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of N394.25 billion ($950m). She is a businesswoman and fashion enthusiast who made her fortune through real estate, oil and gas, banking, and photography. Bola Shagaya is the CEO and founder of Bolmus Group International, a multifaceted Nigerian conglomerate that includes industries in oil & gas, real estate, banking, and communications.
Born on October 10, 1959, Shagaya attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, and Armstrong College in California, United States, where she studied economics and accountancy. She began her career with the audit department of the Central Bank of Nigeria. In 1983, she started her own business by importing and distributing photographic materials. She introduced the Konica brand of photographic materials into the Nigerian market and West Africa.
Bola Shagaya is also the managing director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria which include local lubricant blending plants. She is currently on the board of Unity Bank plc, patron of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), and a Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) which was awarded to her by former Nigeria President, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (GCFR) in 2010.
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3. Daisy Danjuma
Daisy Danjuma is the third richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of N373.5 billion ($900m). She is a former Nigerian senator (2003 – 2007), attorney, and wife of former Nigerian military general and minister of defence of Nigeria, Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.
Daisy Ehanire Danjuma was born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria on August 6, 1952. She attended Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where she graduated with a BA in Law in 1976. In 1977, she was called to the Nigerian Bar to practise as a lawyer. She served in the Ministry of Justice of Lagos State during her NYSC. Daisy Danjuma was a legal counsel to the Legal Aid Council of Nigeria.
From 1977 to 1978, she worked as an Executive Assistant at Nigerian Acceptances Limited (NAL). She was also Company Secretary/Legal Adviser to the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) from 1982 to 1992.
Danjuma was elected senator of Edo South constituency of Edo State at the Nigerian National Assembly from 2003 to 2007 under the Action Congress Party (AC). During her tenure as a senator, she served as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Women Affairs and Youth Development. She was also a Member, Senate Committees on Health, Education, Finance, and Land Transport of the National Assembly.
In 2019, she was appointed the chairperson of May & Baker Nigeria PLC, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company.
4. Fifi Ejindu
Princess Fifi Ekanem Ejindu is the great-granddaughter of King James Ekpo Bassey of Cobham Town in Calabar, Nigeria, and the fourth richest woman in Nigeria. Her net worth is estimated at N353.75 billion ($850m).
Fifi Ejindu is an architect, businesswoman, and philanthropist. Born in Ibadan, Oyo State, Nigeria, she studied architecture at Pratt Institute, a private design college in Brooklyn, New York, United States.
She founded Starcrest Group of companies in 1995. The conglomerate consists of Starcrest Investment Ltd., Starcrest Associates Ltd. and Starcrest Industries Ltd. These companies are involved in real estate, oil and gas, and building construction.
5. Stella Okoli
Dr. Stella Okoli is the Chief Executive Officer as well as the Managing Director for Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited. Her net worth is estimated at N332 billion ($800m) making her the fifth richest woman in Nigeria.
Born in Kano by parents from the Nnewi clan in Anambra State in 1994, Okoli graduated from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom, after studying Pharmacy. She also did her Masters degree in biopharmaceuticals and graduated from the University of London, Chelsea College, United Kingdom in 1971.
Before establishing Emzor, Stella Okoli worked in several pharmaceutical firms including Middlesex Hospital, London, Boots the Chemists Limited and Pharma-Deko. In January 1977, she established Emzor Chemists Limited, a small pharmacy retail shop in Somolu, Lagos State. This retail shop grew into what is now known as Emzor Pharmaceutical, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Nigeria.
Stella Okoli currently serves as the Vice President of the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria and the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture.
6. Bimbo Alashe
Furniture tycoon, Bimbo Alashe is the 6th richest woman in Nigeria with an estimated net worth of N311.25 billion ($750m). She owns the luxury furniture company, Leatherworld Interiors. The head office is located at Ikoyi, Lagos State.
Bimbo Alashe-Arawole was born in 1962 and attended Ріtmаn Соllеgе, Lоndоn, аnd thе Rеgеnt Асаdеmу оf Dеѕіgnѕ and Fіnе Аrtѕ, also іn Lоndоn, United Kingdom.
Bimbo Alashe has always had a knack for business as her first venture, a mini-gift and beauty shop called Glamour, was a success. Her current business Leatherworld was founded December 1, 1994, in Lagos Island. Leatherworld boasts of one of the best furniture showrooms in Nigeria with a span of operations from Lagos to FCT, Abuja.
7. Mo Abudu
Mosunmola Abudu is a Nigerian media mogul and philanthropist. Her net worth is estimated at N269.75 billion ($650m), making her the seventh richest woman in Nigeria. Mo Abudu is the founder of Ebonylife Television and Films, a company that produced Nollywood box office hits like Wedding Party 1&2, Chief Daddy, Your Excellency, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, etc.
Mo Abudu was born on September 11, 1964, at Hammersmith, West London. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Resource Management from the University of Westminster in London. She began her career as a recruitment consultant in 1987 with the Atlas Recruitment Consultancy firm in the UK.
After returning to Nigeria in 1993, she founded Vic Lawrence & Associates Limited. Later, she created, produced and presented Moments with Mo, which helped her to establish her own television EbonyLife.
Mo Abudu has been described by Forbes as “Africa’s Most Successful Woman“. She was also rated as one of the “25 Most Powerful Women in Global Television” by The Hollywood Reporter.
8. Stella Oduah
Stella Oduah Ogiemwonyi is a Nigerian senator and former Minister of Aviation. Her estimated net worth is N249 billion ($600m). She was born to Igwe D.O. Oduah of Akili-Ozizor, Ogbaru L.G.A. in Anambra State on January 5, 1962. She studied Accounting and Business Administration for her Bachelors and Masters degree respectively in the United States.
When she returned to Nigeria in 1982, she joined the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). In 1992, she left NNPC and established Sea Petroleum & Gas Company Limited (SPG), an independent marketer of petroleum products in Nigeria.
Stella Oduah recently clinched a ticket to contest for the senate in the Anambra North constituency under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform.
Ngozi Okonjo Iweala is a Nigerian-American economist and global personality. Her portfolio is so impressive it is hard to find anyone who can beat it. She was the first Nigerian woman to serve two terms as Finance Minister of Nigeria. Okonjo-Iweala also made history as the first woman to become the Director-General of the World Trade Organization.
Born into a royal family in Ogwashi-Ukwu, Delta State, Okonjo Iweala attended Harvard University and graduated magna cum laude with an AB in Economics in 1976. She also holds a PhD in regional economics and development from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
She currently sits on the board of several international companies and organizations like Danone, Standard Chartered Bank, Twitter, MINDS: Mandela Institute for Development Studies, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security, One Campaign, GAVI: Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, Rockefeller Foundation, R4D: Results for Development, ARC: African Risk Capacity and Earthshot Prize etc.
Her estimated net worth is said to be around N207.5 billion ($500m).
10. Diezani Alison-Madueke
Diezani K. Alison-Madueke is a Nigerian politician and the first female President of OPEC. She was also the first woman Minister of Petroleum Resources in Nigeria.
Born Diezani K. Agama in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria, on December 6, 1960, she studied Architecture in the UK and later Howard University in the United States and graduated in 1992. She also received an MBA in Cambridge Judge Business School.
Alison-Madueke returned to Nigeria and joined Shell Petroleum Development Corporation in 1992. She would later become Executive Director of the company in 2006. Prior to becoming the Petroleum Minister in 2010, she was Minister of Transportation and Mines and Steel Development in 2007 and 2008 respectively.
Her net worth is estimated at N207.5 billion ($500m) completing the list of the top 10 richest women in Nigeria.
Top 5 richest women in Africa
- Isabel Dos Santos – $2.8 billion (Angola)
- Folorunsho Alakija – $1.54 billion (Nigeria)
- Ngina Kenyatta – $1 billion (Kenya)
- Hajia Bola Shagaya – $950 million (Nigeria)
- Wendy Appelbaum – $259.3 million (South Africa)
Top 10 richest women in the world
- Francoise Bettencourt Meyers – $78.4 billion – L’Oreal
- Alice Walton – $70.8 billion – Walmart
- Julia Koch – $62.5 billion – Koch Industries
- Mackenzie Scott – $46.6 billion – Amazon
- Jacqueline Mars – $34.8 billion – Mars
- Gina Rineheart – $30.9 billion – Hancock Prospecting
- Miriam Adelson – $27.4 billion – Physician and politician
- Susanne Klatten – $25.1 billion – BMW, Atlanta pharmaceutical and chemical company.
- Iris Fontbona – $23.8 billion – Antofagasta Plc
- Abigail Johnson – $21.5 billion – Fidelity Investments