Who Are The Richest Women In Africa?
Move over, fellas. A new wave of millionaires and billionaires are beginning to emerge across Africa, and they’re all women. These ladies all represent a change happening in Africa, as women have begun dominating board rooms and starting multi-million dollar businesses. From oil to fashion to media, the following women have raised the bar when it comes to success in Africa.
Isabel dos Santos
Topping the list of wealthiest African women is the eldest child of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel dos Santos, who has an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion USD. She opened her first business called the Miami Beach Club in 1997, one of the first night clubs and restaurants off the coast of Angola. Since then she has held stakes in various industries including telecommunications, finance, retail, and energy.
Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian fashion and oil tycoon who has an estimated worth of $1.1 billion. She began her entrepreneurial career as the owner of Rose of Sharon House of Fashion, a clothing line that attracted the likes of the rich and famous, including the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida. She rose to dominance shortly after and currently serves as Vice Chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company.
Nigerian megastar Yemi Alade has captured the attention of millions with her soulful voice and catchy tunes, and she has millions in the bank to show for it. The MTV African Music Awards winner and BET-nominated artist has an estimated net worth of $4.2 million and became the first African female artist to reach one million YouTube subscribers. She was most recently featured on “Don’t Jealous Me,” a track off of Beyoncé’s latest soundtrack album, The Lion King: The Gift.
Named one of Forbes “Ten Female Millionaires To Watch In Africa,” Bola Shagaya has come a long way since her early days as an auditor at a bank. Shagaya is a Nigerian businesswoman who currently heads Bolmus Group International, a conglomerate with subdivisions in the oil, real estate, finance, communications, and photography industries. She also serves on the board of the Nigerian commercial bank, Unity Bank.
South African businesswoman Wendy Applebaum holds several roles and has over $150 million in assets. She was once one of Liberty Investors’ largest shareholders, but she soon sold her shares and purchased a wine estate called DeMorgenzon with her husband. She is the only child of South African magnate Donald Gordon and is considered to be South Africa’s richest woman.
Ngina Kenyatta, affectionally called Mama Ngina, controls half a million of Kenyan land with an average price for one-acre selling at $1,000. The widow of Kenya’s first president Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, she also owns Brookside Dairies, the country’s largest dairy company, and has shares in the timber, telecommunications, and banking industries. Her son currently serves as Kenya’s Deputy Prime Minister.
Ethiopian model Liya Kebede turned heads back in 2000 when Tom Ford asked her to grace his Fall/Winter fashion show. Since then she’s appeared on countless magazine covers and has campaigned for some of the world’s most luxurious brands. She has been named in Forbes as one of the most top-earning models in the world.
What started as a career managing mining shafts as turned Bridgette Radebe into one of the continent’s richest women. The South African millionaire is the founder of Mmakau Mining, a junior mining firm with assets in coal, gold, uranium and platinum. She also serves as president of the South African Mining Development Association and co-founded New Africa Mining Fund, an equity firm serving the sub-Saharan region.
South African media executive Irene Charnley is known for her role in helping to leverage and expand the reach of Africa’s largest telecommunications firm, MTN. As the company’s executive director, she worked to secure licenses in Nigeria and Iran and was awarded stock options worth $150 million. She is now the head of Smile Telecoms, a mobile telecommunications company she founded in 2007.
Considered one of Kenya’s most esteemed entrepreneurs, Njeri Rionge is known for helping to raise close to $60 million in growth capital Wananchi Online, East Africa’s leading internet service providers. She was 20 when she founded her first company selling yogurt and is ow the founder of UpCountry Africa Fund Assets Corp., a firm geared to help leverage sub-Saharan businesses with capital.