Top 10 Richest Women in Africa

Today’s women, especially African women, are changing the status quo, breaking down all the barriers that women would never break in the past, and earning their own money.

African women are challenging the current state of affairs of the African continent in various ways, from business to politics, media, science and technology, and leaving non-existent footprints on the province.

In today’s article we take a deep look at African women who have proven themselves and stood out as the top 10 richest women on the continent.

Isabel Dos Santos
Net worth: $2.2 Billion

Age: 47
Country: Angola

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

Isabel’s first career adventure was in 1997, when she opened the Miami Beach Club on the island of Luanda. Today, she can boast of being the owner of multiple companies and businesses in Portugal and Angola.

Isabel currently owns more than 28% of the Portuguese media group, Zon Multimedia through her two holding companies, Kento and Jadium.

She also owns significant shares in the Portuguese banks, Banco Espírito Santo and Banco Português de Investimento and the energy company Energias de Portugal. She doubles as the shareholder of 25% of Unitel S.A., an Angolan private mobile phone company.

Isabel’s business interests are concentrated in the media, finance, retail, mining, energy and telecommunications industries. And in 2013, she became the first female billionaire in Africa.

Folorunso Alakija
Net worth: $1Billion
Age: 69
Country: Nigeria

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

Folorunso’s business career began in the 1970s when he founded a fashion brand called “Supreme Stitches”, which was later renamed what is now known as the “Rose of Sharon House of Fashion”.

Today, Folorunso is a highly respected billionaire with business interests in fashion, oil and gas, retail, printing, and real estate. She owns several businesses, the most famous of which are Rose of Sharon Prints and Promotion, Digital Reality Prints, Dayspring Property Development Company Limited; a real estate company that has flourished all over the world.

Alakija is also the CEO of FAMFA Oil, a family-owned oil-producing company said to be worth more than $600 million.

Ngina Kenyatta
Net worth: $1Billion

Age: 87
Country: Kenya

Ngina Kenyatta, also known popularly as Mama Ngina, is the widow of the first President of Kenya, Jomo Kenyatta, and the mother of current President Uhuru Kenyatta. She is one of the richest women in Africa and takes the number three position.

Mama Nyiga is responsible for the family businesses, which includes banking, agriculture, education, insurance, hospitality, manufacturing and real estate industries.

Mama Ngina Kenyatta is currently responsible for overseeing a number of investments, stakes and portfolios under her authorization, and owns 24.91% of the shares in one of Kenya’s largest private banks, the Commercial Bank of Africa (CBA). Other businesses include Brookside Dairies; a dairy farm providing almost half of Kenya’s dairy needs, traditional hotels, Voyager resorts in Mombasa and Tsavo, Timsales Timber, Media Max; media company that owns K24 TV, Kameme Radio and The People newspapers.

Her latest investments are in the real estate sector, which includes the development of 500 acres of land in Northland City, which is said to be the largest gated community in the area.

Hajia Bola Shagaya
Net worth: $630 Million

Age: 61
Country: Nigeria

Although born in a middle-income family, Hajia Bola Shagaya beat the odds changing her family history forever.

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

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

As a real estate tycoon, Hajia Bola owns hundreds of townhouses in the best neighborhoods of Nigeria and owns properties in Europe and the United States. She is also the founder of Voyage Oil, an oil exploration company.

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

Wendy Appelbaum
Net worth: $152 Million

Age: 58
Country: South Africa

Despite Wendy Appelbaum being the fifth richest woman in Africa, she is currently the richest woman in South Africa. She is the daughter of the late South African billionaire Sir Donald Gordon.

Wendy Appelbaum began her career as a director of Liberty Group, a real estate company owned by her father, and later co-founded Wiphold, Women’s Investment Portfolio Holdings, which was shortlisted on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. However, she sold her share soon after that.

Today, she owns a 224-acre wine farm called Demorgenzon Wine Estate. She is a leader in the South African wine industry. Her first vintage wine, Chenin Blanc, has earned many accolades for its unique taste.

Wendy’s wine company is said to sell more than 500,000 bottles of wine each year, 85% of which are exported to France, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States.

Wendy Ackerman
Net worth: $111.5 Million
Country: South Africa

Wendy Ackerman is a South African retail mogul and a non-executive director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited, a retail company founded by her husband Raymond Ackerman.

Mrs. Ackerman is the interim CEO of this $3 billion South African company, which has branches in Nigeria, Botswana, Eswatini, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, and Zambia.

She is the trustee of the Ackerman Family Educational Trust Fund, which has helped hundreds of South African children complete their education.

Wendy Ackerman’s business interests are primarily in the retail industry.

Irene Charnley
Net Worth: $88 million
Age: 60
Country: South Africa

Irene Charnley is a former unionist and negotiator. She served as a negotiator for the National Union of Miners in South Africa for 13 years.
After resigning as a trade union negotiator, Irene became the executive director of MTN, the largest telecommunications company in Africa. It is said that she played an important role helping the company to be granted an operation licenses by the Nigerian and Iran government. A large block of MTN stock’s value at over $150 Million was rewarded to her.

However, Irene later resigned from MTN after some disputes and founded her own telecommunications company, Smiles Telecommunication in Mauritius, a low-cost telecommunications company. However, she remained the CEO of the company until 2019 when she was demoted to Deputy Chair.

Irene Charnley’s business interests are solely invested in telecommunications. Her telecommunications company Smiles is said to be worth US $ 58 billion.

Bridget Radebe
Net Worth: $58.7 Million

Age: 60
Country: South Africa

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

Bridget’s business interest is mining. She started her career as a miner and then founded her own mining company, Mmakau Mining. In this industry, most mining companies are owned by men.

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

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

Sharon Wapnick’s success can usually be traced back to her father, Alec Wapnick, because of his immense wealth and influence.

Sharon is currently the largest shareholder of her father’s property loan stock companies, Octodec Investments and Premium Properties. She doubles as Octodec’s non-executive chairperson, a position held by her father until she took office in 2011.

In addition to Octodec, Sharon is also a very smart lawyer and senior partner of Tugendhaft Wapnick Banchetti and Partners.

She holds her career interests in the area of corporate affairs and real estate.

Though Sharon is believed to be in other business endeavors, little is known about her recent business ventures largely because of her secretive nature.

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

Elizabeth Bradley is daughter to Albert Wessels, the man marked in history as the first person to bring the Toyota Brand to South Africa.

She started her career being the managing director of South African holding company, Wesco Investment 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 sum of $320 Million. But she walked away with a whooping amount of $150 Million.

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

By Alexander Asiedu Ofori

A passionate writer, content creator and a Pan-African

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