Folorunsho Alakija (born 15 July 1951) is a Nigerian billionaire businesswoman and philanthropist.[1][2] She is involved in the fashion,[3] oil, real estate and printing industries.[4] She is the Group Managing Director of The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited, Digital Reality Prints Limited and the executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.


Folorunsho Alakija (born July 15, 1951) is a Nigerian businesswoman and philanthropist.[1][2] She is currently the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group and also serves as executive vice chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.[3]

Folorunso Alakija
Born (1951-07-15) 15 July 1951 (age 73)
Ikorodu, Western Region, British Nigeria
(now Ikorodu, Lagos State)
Modupe Alakija
(m. 1976)

Early life

Alakija was born on July 15, 1951. Her father, L. A. Ogbara, had 8 wives and 52 children,[4] and Folorunso's mother was his first.[5] She is from the Yoruba ethnicity of south-western Nigeria.[6] At the age of ten, Alakija traveled to the United Kingdom for her education. Alakija attended Muslim High School in Shagamu, Nigeria. She then returned to England for her secretarial studies at Pitman's Central College, London.[2]


Alakija started her 12-year banking career in 1974 as an executive secretary at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria. She moved to the former First National Bank of Chicago as the Executive Secretary to the Managing Director. She became the Head of the Corporate Affairs Department of the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, and later became the Office Assistant to the Treasury Department.[7][8]

Alakija then studied fashion design at the American College in London and the Central School of Fashion.[9] She started a fashion label called Supreme Stitches, renamed in 1996 as The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion.[10][11] She was the president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).[12][13]

In May 1993, Alakija applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL).[14] The license to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block, about 100 km offshore of Nigeria, in the Agbami Field, was granted to Alakija's company, Famfa Limited. In September 1996, Alakija entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, transferring a 40 percent stake to Star Deep.[15][16] After they struck oil, the Nigerian government claimed a 40% stake, followed by an additional 10%.[17] The government argued that if Alakija and her family were allowed to keep their block, Alakija would dispute this claim and win.[18]


Forbes has listed Alakija among the world's 100 most powerful women,[19][20] and has been ranked as the richest woman in Africa.[citation needed]

On July 17, 2021, Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, she received an honorary doctorate degree in business administration.[citation needed]


Alakija established the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which was intended to grant widows and orphans scholarships and business grants.[21] Alakija has donated a skills acquisition center to Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), a higher educational institution located in Lagos.[22][23][24]

Personal life

Alakija married Modupe Alakija in November 1976.[25] They reside in Lagos, Nigeria, with their four sons.[26] In June 2017, their son, Folarin Alakija, married Iranian model Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar.[27]


  1. ^ Iyengar, Rishi (30 December 2014). "Here's She is the World's Richest Black woman in the world". Time. Archived from the original on 3 May 2018. Retrieved 30 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b "Folorunso Alakija". Retrieved 20 May 2021.
  3. ^ "Folorunso Alakija". Folorunsho Alakija. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  4. ^ "FOLORUNSHO ALAKIJA - A Pathway For Very Female Entrepreneur". Alamin Abdulhadi. Retrieved 24 April 2024.
  5. ^ "Covenant I made with God at age 40 — Folorunso's Alakija". Punch Newspapers. 18 July 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2023.
  6. ^ Sadiq, Mobola (18 July 2021). "Covenant I made with God at age 40 — Folorunsho Alakija". Punch Newspapers. Retrieved 10 February 2024.
  7. ^ "Business – Alakija". Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  8. ^ "Folorunsho Alakija Biography - Biopreneur Nigeria". Retrieved 31 August 2023.
  9. ^ Folorunsho, Alakija. "Success in the Fashion World". folorunshoalakija. Folorunsho Alakija. Archived from the original on 27 April 2021. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  10. ^ Falode, Kehinde (17 September 2011). "Fashion icon, Folorunso Alakija at 62". The Nation. Retrieved 20 June 2013.[permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Folorunsho Alakija". Forbes. November 2012. Retrieved 19 December 2012.
  12. ^ Wilson, Julee (5 December 2012). "Richest Black Woman in the World, Folorunso Alakija, Was A Major Fashion Designer in Africa". The Huffington Post.
  13. ^ Gabriel, Gift (24 June 2012). "I moved out of the crowd to get it right – Mrs Alakija". Sunday Tribune. Nigeria.
  14. ^ "The Richest Black Woman in the World, Folorunsho Alakija". Ventures Africa. Lagos. 29 November 2012. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  15. ^ "Folorunso Alakija richest black woman on earth". PM News. 25 December 2012.
  16. ^ "Agbami Oilfield, Nigeria". offshore Nigeria.
  17. ^ "How Africa's second richest woman gained her fortune - CNBC Africa". CNBC Africa. 17 September 2016. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  18. ^ "5 Lessons Folorunsho Alakija Could Teach Christian Entrepreneurs -". 29 July 2018. Archived from the original on 4 August 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  19. ^ Sotubo, Jola (27 May 2015). "Nigerians make Forbes' most powerful women list". Forbes. Retrieved 28 May 2015.
  20. ^ "The World's 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes. Retrieved 26 June 2014.
  21. ^ Folorunsho, Alakija. "Folorunsho Alakija Foundation". folorunshoalakija. Folorunsho Alakija. Retrieved 27 April 2021.
  22. ^ Ellis, Jessica (16 February 2012). "Nigerian billionaire takes on cause of 'mistreated widows'". CNN.
  23. ^ Amos, Adaeze (26 May 2013). "My passion for widows and orphans –Folorunso Alakija". National Mirror. Nigeria.
  24. ^ Nsehe, Mfonobong. "Nigeria's Richest Woman Folorunsho Alakija Donates Skills Acquisition Center To School". Forbes. Retrieved 27 July 2020.
  25. ^ Allen Lee (9 October 2019). "Meet Folorunso Alakija: The Richest Woman in Africa". Money Inc. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  26. ^ Sessou, Ebun (9 September 2011). "My life is full of blissful moments – Folorunso Alakija". The Vanguard. Nigeria.
  27. ^ "Folarin Alakija marries Nazanin Jafarian Ghaissarifar in a luxurious $8 million wedding".

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