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Top 10 Richest Women in Africa 2021

Women today, especially African women, are changing the status-quo and breaking all the barriers women were not expected to break back in the days and making their own money.

African women are challenging the continent’s existing state of affairs in various aspects from business, to politics, media, science, and Technology, and leaving footprints on the terrain where there was none.

In this post, we take a look at African women who have proven their worth and standing out to become the top 10 richest women on the continent.

1. Isabel Dos Santos

Net Worth: $2.2 Billion
Age: 47
Country: Angola

Isabel Dos Santos, known widely as the daughter of the super-rich Angolan President, José Eduardo dos Santos, tops the list as the richest woman in Africa.

Isabel’s first business venture was in 1997, which was the opening of her Miami Beach Club in Luanda Island. Today, she can boast of owning several companies and businesses in Portuguese and Angola.

Isabel currently holds more than a 28% stake in Portuguese media conglomerate, Zon Multimedia via two of her shareholding companies, Kento and Jadium.

Isabel also owns major stakes in Portuguese banks, Banco Espírito Santo and Banco Português de Investimento, and also in the energy firm, Energias de Portugal. She also owns 25% of private Angolan mobile company, Unitel S.A.

Isabel’s business interest is centered in the areas of media, finance, retail, mining, energy, and the telecommunications industry. She became the first female billionaire in Africa in 2013.

2. Folorunso Alakija

Net Worth: $1 Billion
Age: 69
Country: Nigeria

Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian billionaire and the second richest woman in Africa after Dos Santos.

Folorunso’s business career started back in the 1970s when she established a fashion brand called, ‘Supreme Stitches‘, which later changed into what is currently known as the Rose Of Sharon House of Fashion.

Today Folorunso is a well-respected billionaire with business interests in the areas of fashion, oil and gas, retail, printing, and the real estate sector. She is the owner of several groups of companies most notably, Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotions, Digital reality printsDayspring Property Development Company Limited; a real estate company which owns prosperities in various part of the world.

Alakija is also the Executive Director of FAMFA Oil, her family-owned oil production company which is said to be worth over $600 million.

3. Ngina Kenyatta

Net Worth: $1 Billion
Age: 87
Country: Kenya

Ngina Kenyatta, also popularly known as Mama Ngina, is the widow of Kenya’s first president, Jomo Kenyatta, and mother of the country’s current President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and she is one of the richest women in Africa.

Mama Nyiga handles the family’s businesses, which cut across banking, farming, education, insurance, hospitality, manufacturing, and real estate sectors.

Mama Ngina Kenyatta currently oversees a series of investments, stakes, and portfolios under her authority and holds 24.91% in one of the largest privately-owned banks in Kenya, which is the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). Other businesses include Brookside Dairies; a dairy farm that is responsible for almost half of the dairy products in Kenya, heritage hotels, Voyager Resort in Mombasa and Tsavo, Timsales TimberMedia Max; a media company that owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio, and The People newspaper.

The latest investments are in the real estate sector, which involves the development of a 500 acre Northlands City, which is said to be the largest gated community in the region.

4. Hajia Bola Shagaya

Net Worth: $630 Million
Age: 61
Country: Nigeria

Despite being born in an average income family, Hajia Bola Shagaya beat the odds to change the history of her family for good.

Hajia Bola started her business career by importing Konica photographic equipment for resale, after quitting her job as an auditor for the Central Bank of Nigeria in 1983.

Today, she is the second richest woman in Nigeria and CEO of Bolmus Group International which is a diversified Nigerian conglomerate company with interests in oil, real estate, banking, and photography.

As a real estate mogul, Hajia Bola owns hundreds of townhouses in Nigeria’s choicest neighborhoods, as well as properties in Europe and the United States. She is also the founder of oil Exploration Company, Voyage oil.

Hajia Bola is also a board member of the National Economic Partnership for Africa Development (NEPAD), a Nigerian focused business group.

5. Wendy Appelbaum

Net Worth: $152 Million
Age: 58
Country: South Africa

Though the 5th richest woman in Africa, Wendy Appelbaum is currently the richest woman in South Africa. She is the daughter of the late South African billionaire, Sir Donald Gordon.

Wendy Appelbaum started her career as a director at Liberty Group, a real estate company owned by her father, and she later went on to co-found the Women Investment Portfolio Holdings, Wiphold, which was shortlisted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, but she sold her shares soon after that.

Today, she is the owner of a 224 acres wine farm called Demorgenzon wine estate. She is a hotshot in South Africa’s wine industry. Her first vintage wine, Chenin Blanc, is known to have won several accolades for its unique taste.

Wendy’s wine company is said to sell over half a million bottles of wine every year, with 85% being exported to countries like France, Sweden, the UK, Canada, and the USA.

6. Wendy Ackerman

Net Worth: $111.5 Million
Country: South Africa

Wendy Ackerman is a South African retail tycoon and Non-Executive Director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited – a retail company founded by her husband, Raymond Ackerman.

Mrs. Ackerman is the acting Executive Director of the $3 billion South African company, which has outlets in several countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zambia.

Wendy is a trustee of the Ackerman Family educational trust fund, which is credited to have helped hundreds of South African children through school.

Wendy Ackerman’s business interest is mainly centered on retail.

7. Irene Charnley

Net Worth: $88 Million
Age: 60
Country: South Africa

Irene Charnley is a former trade unionist and negotiator. She spent 13 years as a negotiator for South Africa’s National Union of Mineworkers.

After stepping down as negotiator for Union, Irene went on to become an executive director for Africa’s largest telecommunication company, MTN, and she is said to have been pivotal to the granting of operation licenses to the company by the government of Nigerian and Iran – which, she is said to have been rewarded with a ‘huge chunk of MTN stock’ valued at over US$150 million in return.

Irene however called it quits with MTN following some controversies and went on to set up her own telecommunication company, Smiles Telecommunication, a low-cost telecommunications company in Mauritius. She was however the CEO of the company until 2019 when she was demoted to Deputy Chair.

Irene Charnley’s business interest is solely invested in telecommunications. Her Telecom company, Smiles, is said to be worth $58 billion.

8. Bridget Radebe

Net Worth: $58.7 Million
Age: 60
Country: South Africa

Bridget Radebe is the older sister of South African billionaire, Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe.

Bridget’s business interest is in mining. She started her career as a miner, before setting up her own mining firm called, Mmakau Mining, in an industry where most mining firms are owned by Men.

Bridget’s firm specializes in the exploration of gold, platinum, chrome, uranium, coal, and vanadium.

9. Sharon Wapnick

Net Worth: $25.4 Million
Age: 56
Country: South Africa

The success of Sharon Wapnick is often traced to her father, Alec Wapnick, due to his vast wealth and influence.

Sharon is currently the major shareholder in her father’s property loan stock companies, Octodec Investments, and Premium Properties. She is also the non-executive chairman at Octodec, a position held by her father until 2011 when she took over.

Besides Octodec, Sharon is a very brilliant attorney and a senior partner at Tugendhaft Wapnick Banchetti & Partners.

Sharon holds business interests in the area of real estate and corporate matters.

Though the millionaire is believed to be involved in other business ventures, much is not known about her recent business endeavors due to her private nature.

10. Elisabeth Bradley

Net Worth: $19.4 Million
Age: 58
Country: South Africa

Elizabeth Bradley is the daughter of Albert Wessels, the man who made history by being the first person to bring the Toyota brand to South Africa.

Elizabeth started her career in business as a managing director of South African holding company, Wesco Investments Limited in 1986, and in 1991, she became the non-executive chair, a position she holds to date.

Bradley owned a 25% stake in Toyota-South Africa, but she, however, agreed to sell her stake to Toyota-Japan for a whopping sum of $320 million. She however walked away with a Sum of $150 million.

Elizabeth also owns a stake in agriculture and agri- processing business, Tongaat Hulett and Sasol; an integrated energy and chemical company.

Written by Jackson Mridha

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