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Despite the patriarchal nature of the African industrial and financial scene, it is interesting to see women break the mold. Some of Africa’s richest women are cross national business magnates and entrepreneurs, controlling multi-million dollar conglomerates in and outside the continent.

These women have made their mark in a variety of industries, from tech to fashion to finance, and have in the process, generated for themselves a vast amount of wealth beyond the average.

Truly, they are an inspiration to women all over the world, and their stories are proof that anything is possible with hard work and determination.

This article will be unveiling Africa’s richest female billionaires and multi-millionaires, their backgrounds, their businesses, and their net worth.

So without further ado, here are the top 10 richest women in Africa, their estimated net worth, their country of origin, source of wealth, and their rise to luxury.

10. Bridgette Radebe

  • Net Worth: $700 Million
Bridgette Radebe

Bridgette Radebe, The first black female mining entrepreneur

South African mining entrepreneur, Bridgette Radebe, takes the tenth place among the richest women in Africa, having an estimated net worth of $700 Million.

Radebe is the founder, executive chairperson, and CEO of Mmankau Mining Limited, a company that specializes in chrome, uranium platinum vanadium, and coal. She is considered the first black woman to be engaged in the mining business and the President of the South African Mining Development Association.

Radebe started as a common miner in the 1980s; managing individual shaft mining operations and producing materials for the larger mine operations in South Africa while working under a contract. She then started Mmakau Mining; a mining firm that initiates explorations and helps to produce platinum, gold, and chrome.

Thanks to the success of Mmakau Mining, Radebe has grown to be one of the biggest entrepreneurs on the continent. She  received an “International Businessperson of the Year Award” in May 2008 from the Global Foundation for Democracy, for making a difference in the world of changing political and environmental landscapes

9. Irene Charnley

  • Net Worth: $750 Million

Irene Charnley

Irene Charnley is a South African businesswoman with investments in telecommunication. With an estimated net worth of $750 Million, Irene is one of the richest women in Africa. She was a former negotiator for the South African National Union of Minework for 13 years before moving on to become the Executive director of MTN.

Irene was instrumental in making MTN Africa’s largest telecommunication company. Under her leadership, several African and Middle Eastern countries (including Nigeria and Iran) were connected to the MTN network Thereafter, she left to set up her own telecommunication company, Smiles Communication in 2007.

Smile Telecoms Holdings Ltd, is a Mauritius-based Pan-African telecommunications group with operations in Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Africa. Forbes listed her among “Africa’s 50 Most Powerful Women” in 2020.

8. Wendy Ackerman

  • Net Worth: $750 Million
Richest Women In Africa - Wendy Ackerman

Wendy Ackerman and her husband, Raymond Ackerman

Wendy Ackerman,  also with an estimated net worth of $750 million, is one of the richest women in South Africa and the entire continent at large   She is a business tycoon whose interest is primarily centered on retail. She is one of the board members of Pick n Pay Holdings Limited, a retail company founded by her husband.

Together with her husband Raymond Ackerman, Wendy has been an outstanding entrepreneurial leader who has helped to drive change, growth, vision, and innovation in the retail sector in Africa and she has helped build up one of South Africa’s pre-eminent FMCG retailers, consisting of over 450 stores.

The company operates in the food, clothing, and general merchandise sectors as well as financial services. It also operates throughout South Africa, with numerous outlets in Australia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Nigeria, Zambia, and Namibia employing around 49,000 people.

7. Wendy Appelbaum

  • Net Worth: $800 Million
Wendy Appelbaum, Richest Woman in South Africa

Wendy Appelbaum, The Richest Woman in South Africa

With an estimated net worth of $800 million, Wendy Appelbaum is no doubt the richest woman in South Africa, but also one of the richest women in Africa. She is the daughter of South African billionaire, Sir Donald Gordon Appelbaum.  She started her career in her father’s real estate company  but currently chairs numerous organizations.

Wendy holds various directorships, and trusteeships and is a member of numerous organisations registered both in South Africa and abroad including the Wits Donald Gordon Medical Centre (Pty) Ltd, and The Donald Gordon Foundation, the largest private charitable foundation in Africa.

She is a director of Sphere Holdings (Pty) Ltd, a black empowerment company focused on the financial services and mining sectors, and a Director of WESGRO (Western Cape Tourism, Trade & Investment). In 2015, she was named the Woman of the Year (Africa) and Businesswoman of the Year by Forbes Magazine. By 2020, Forbes listed her as one of the most powerful women in Africa.

6. Dr. Stella Okoli

  • Net Worth: $800 Million

Dr. Stella Okoli

Dr. Stella Okoli with an estimated net worth of $800 Million joins the list of the Forbes top 10 richest women in Africa in 2024. She is the Chief Executive Officer as well as the Managing Director for Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries Limited; one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the country.

Stella started as a ward/clinical pharmacist at Middlesex Hospital in London and afterward, she worked as a pharmacist at Boots UK formerly known as Boots the Chemist Ltd. She then returned to Nigeria and was employed for a short time as a pharmacist at Massey Children Hospital, Lagos before joining a pharmaceutical manufacturing firm, Park Davies Nigeria Limited.

Stella began her entrepreneurship career with a small retail pharmacy, in Shomolu, Lagos, importing pharmaceutical drugs into the country. The establishment was later transformed into Emzor Pharmaceuticals in 1984 and currently, it is a leading pharmaceutical company that has more than 50 products under its name.

5. Fifi Ejindu 

  • Net Worth: $850 Million

Richest Women In Africa: Fifi Ejindu

Fifi Ejindu is an architect, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and one of the richest women in Africa. According to Forbes, she has an estimated net worth of $850 Million. She is the founder and CEO of Starcrest Group of Companies, one of the biggest architectural firms in Nigeria.

Starcrest Group of Companies is divided into three subdivisions, engaged in real estate, building, designing, and investment opportunities The subsidiaries involved are real property managing, construction, and design oil and gas project management as well as youth empowerment and investment opportunities.

Starcrest is responsible for some of the foreign investment in the country. With the help of the former President of Nigeria Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, the company was able to influence fifty prominent businessmen from the U.A.E to invest in various sectors within the Nigerian economy.  The company is also responsible for the management of many residential and industrial villas around the continent.

4. Daisy Dnjuma

  • Net Worth: $900 Million

Richest Women In Africa: Daisy Danjuma

Former Edo State Senator, Daisy Danjuma takes fourth place among the Forbes top 10 richest women in Africa with an estimated net worth of $900 million. She is an attorney and the spouse of the defense minister General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma.

Daisy began his career as an Executive Assistant for Nigerian Acceptances Limited (NAL) from 1977 to 1978. She was the Company Secretary/Legal Adviser for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) from 1982 until 1992.

She was elected as a Senator in Nigeria in the Federal Republic of Nigeria (2003-2007) serving as Edo South’s Senator. The Nigerian attorney served on the board of several public and private firms.

She was the director of the leading petroleum company, South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), and was appointed the chairperson of May & Baker Nigeria PLC, a leading pharmaceutical manufacturing company in 2019.

2. Ngina Kenyatta

  • Net Worth: $1 Billion
Ngina Kenyatta

Mama Ngina tops the list of the richest women in Kenya.

 

Ngina Kenyatta, Kenya’s former first lady popularly known as “Mama Ngina”, is the richest woman in Kenya and the 2nd richest woman in Africa. Kenyatta was the wife of the first president of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta who ruled from 1964 to his death in 1978. She is also the mother of Uhuru Kenyatta, the current president of Kenya.

In October 2021, the Pandora Papers revealed that she bequeathed part of her fortune in 2017. She and her son Uhuru were unmasked as Client 13173 by the Pandora Papers. The report stated that the Kenyatta family had offshore investments including a company with assets worth at least $30 million.

Currently, Mama Ngina is in charge of the family’s company, which includes banking, farming, education, insurance, manufacturing, and real estate. With an estimated net worth of $1 billion, Ngina Kenyatta takes second place among the richest women in Africa.

1. Folorunso Alakija

  • Net Worth: $1 Billion

Richest Women In Africa - Folorunsho Alakija

Topping the list of the richest women in Africa is Folorunso Alakija, a Nigerian businesswoman who made her wealth from oil and gas, fashion printing industries, and real estate.

The Lagos-born Nigerian billionaire started as a banker before moving into the fashion industry in the 1970s. Alakija launched her fashion company, Supreme Stitches (now Rose of Sharon House of Fashion). She founded FAMFA Oil Limited in 1991 and was granted the Oil Prospecting License (OPL) to operate on a 617,000-acre oil block located in the Niger Delta.

Forbes Magazine listed her as one of the most influential women in 2016; world billionaires in 2019; and Africa’s billionaires in 2020. As of this moment, Alakija is the richest woman in Nigeria and the richest woman in Africa with an estimated net worth of $1 billion.