13 richest women in africa

By Abijah Keru on May 31 2014

Africa’s economy has been on the surge in recent years. According to the UN, its economy is expected to accelerate by 4.7% in 2014 and 5% in 2015. No doubt this is some great news, but what’s even more appealing is the fact that African women are taking center stage in spearheading this growth. As they play their crucial roles, these powerful women also fatten their bank accounts.  We take a look at the 13 richest women in Africa. 

13 Richest Women In Africa

1. Isabel Dos Santos $4 Billion

Even without a career of her own, Isabel would still be one of the richest women in Africa without breaking a sweat. She is the daughter of current Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos who has held the reins for over three decades. Let’s not forget she wedded Sindika Dokolo whose father is said to be a millionaire. So clearly she got her finances in check.

Isabel decided to strike out on her own in 1997 when she opened Miami Beach club. Over the years, her business interests have expanded and today she has numerous investments in her home country and Portugal. Forbes estimates her wealth to be $4 billion up by $1 billion from 2013.

2. Folorunsho Alakija $3 Billion

Coming in second is Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, who was once named the richest black woman in the world knocking Oprah Winfrey off her pedestal. As of May 2014, her net worth of $3 billion is equivalent to Oprah’s, but Alakija remains the richest woman in Nigeria.

Folorunsho started off as a secretary in a Nigerian bank. She worked in the banking industry for a couple of years before she dug her heels into the fashion world. She soon founded her own label Rose of Sharon Fashion, which became a mammoth success. In 1993, her business savvy nature led her to the Nigerian oil industry. Today she controls Famfa Oil, which own 60% stake in OML 127 an oil field which produces 200,000 barrels of oil each day and is worth over $6.44 billion. 

3. Hajia Bola Shagaya $600 Million

Hajia Bola is a name synonymous with high-end fashion and wealth. From her business portfolio, it’s clear Hajia has amassed her $600 million fortune through hard work and sheer determination. She began her career in the Central Bank of Nigeria where she worked in the audit department. In 1983, she spread her wings into the world of business. The numbers speak for themselves; her crossover has been a huge success.

4.  Ngina Kenyatta $500 Million

Being a first lady can be a really nice perk that’s how Ngina Kenyatta got the bulk of her $500 million fortune. She is the widow of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta and also the mother to the country’s reining leader Uhuru Kenyatta.

Let’s just say Ngina has never had to lift a finger since 1964; that’s the year Kenya became a republic. It’s also during this time that Jomo is believed to have acquired massive wealth in the form of land and holdings from the white settlers. 50 years down the line and the Kenyatta family still registers high in the scale of affluence. 

5. Wendy Appelbaum $259 Million

They say the apple doesn't fall far from the tree, and this is one saying that befits Wendy Appelbaum. She is the daughter of Donald Gordon one of South Africa’s richest men. Wendy could have chosen to ride on her father’s $2 billion fortune, but her drive to become an independent, successful business woman wouldn’t let up.  Wendy currently runs DeMorgenzon a thriving wine estate, which she and her husband purchased. She has a net worth of $259 million.

6. Wendy Ackerman $190 Million

Wendy Ackerman is one woman that has proved to be a true staying power in the retail industry. Her career began to unfold in 1981 when she was made director of Pick n Pay a supermarket chain that was bought by her husband. It quickly became one of Africa’s largest supermarket chains yielding over $52 billion in revenue. Today Wendy Ackerman serves as a non-executive director of the retail store. She has a net worth of $190 million.

7. Irene Charnley $150 Million

The South African has built her bank account exponentially as a trade unionist and businesswoman.  She served as the executive director of MTN Group before becoming the CEO of Smile Telecoms. The bulk of her $150 million net worth stemmed from her tenure with MTN. Irene is known for delivering stellar returns with every company she works for, so we do expect her net worth to hit new highs in the coming years.

8. Bridgette Radebe $100 Million

At the age of 54, Bridgette Radebe can boast of a net worth of $100 Million. Her sights were squarely set in the mining industry since the 1980s when she worked as a contract miner in South Africa. She later founded Mmakau mining which explores coal, platinum, gold among other elements.

9. Pam Golding $83 Million

Pam Golding has achieved high levels of success as the founder and current chairperson of Pam Golding Property Group.  When she began her company in 1976, she had no idea of the profound impact it would have on the real estate industry. Today Pam Golding Properties is a leading estate agency in South Africa. She has accumulated a net worth estimated at $83 million.

10. Sharon Wapnick $43 Million

A career in the real-estate industry bolstered Sharon’s net worth to $43 million. She serves as non-executive director at Premium Properties Limited and Octodec investments. The two companies were founded more than six decades ago by her father Alec Wapnick. 

11. Elisabeth Bradley $32 Million

Elisabeth Bradley has built herself an impressive acumen in her career that spans over four decades. She has held top managerial positions in various companies such as Standard Bank Group Limited and AngloGold Ashanti Limited. She is the current non-executive chairperson of Toyota SA Limited and reigning CEO of Wesco Investments Limited. She is worth $32million.

12. Judy Dlamini $16.1 Million

Most of the richest women in Africa hail from South Africa and Judy Dlamini is no exception. She has a net worth of $16.1 Million. She chairs Aspen Pharmacare Limited and Mbekani Investment Holdings Limited. With Judy Dlamini at the realm, Aspen Pharmacare has been on an upward climb swiftly becoming one of the largest companies in South Africa. 

13. Mamphela Ramphele $12 Million

Mamphela is an influential powerhouse when it comes to South Africa’s political scene an interest that began in her college years. But her appeal transcends the world of politics.  She was once the managing director of the World Bank. Today she sits on the board of several organizations including Transnet, Anglo-American Corporation and Mo Ibrahim Foundation. She caps off our list with a net worth $12 million.

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