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Africa’s Top 10 richest women


They say that behind every successful man is a woman, and while this may be true, the richest women on the continent are proving that they can do for themselves

Based on data compiled by Forbes, here are Africa’s 10 wealthiest female dollar millionaires

Number 1: Isabel dos Santos

With an estimated net worth of $3,4 billion (R49,4 billion), the eldest daughter of Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos is officially the richest woman on the continent.

Dos Santos has made the bulk of her fortunes in oil and diamonds. She has big shareholdings in Portuguese banks including Banco Espirito Santo and Banco Portugues de Investimento and Portuguese energy firm Energias de Portugal.

Her wide portfolio of investments earned her the title of the first female billionaire in Africa, according toAnswers Africa.


Number 2:  Folorunso Alakija, Famfa Oil executive director

The recent Forbes Africa’s 50 Richest List ranked Alakija the 13th richest person on the continent with an estimated net worth of $1,7 billion (R24,7 billion).

A formally trained fashion designer and a household name in Nigeria, Alakija landed her super-big break in 1993 after her company Famfa Oil was awarded an oil prospecting license. She grew her business into an entity that owns around a 60% stake in Nigeria’s oil block.

Number 3: Hajia Bola Shagaya, founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International

Another major Nigerian oil baroness, Shagaya also has interests in real estate and banking and owns property across the globe – Europe and the US included.

She’s also reportedly a board member of the National Economic Partnership for African Development (Nepad), a Nigerian-focused business group and is believed to worth around $600 million (R8,7 billion)

Nandi Molefe, Wendy Appelbaum, Clement Shirilele and Zuki SiyotulaNandi Molefe, Wendy Appelbaum, Clement Shirilele and Zuki Siyotula

Number 4: Wendy Appelbaum, owner of DeMorgenzon wine estate

An avid philanthropist, Appelbaum is the daughter of Donald Gordon and a former Deputy Chairman of the Women’s Investment Portfolio Limited (Whiphold). Her last known net worth stood at around $259,3 million (R3,7 billion). A fiercely private person, Appelbaum is known for her generous contributions to the Gordon Institute of Business Science and the Donald Gordon Medical Centre.

Number 5: Wendy Ackerman, non-executive director of Pick n Pay Holdings

Ackerman co-founded the giant grocery retailer Pick n Pay with her husband Ray and is reportedly worth around $190,2 million (R2,7 billion).

She runs the Ackerman Family Trust, which owns around 50% of Pick n Pay.

Nina Kenyatta (Picture credit: Business Daily Africa)Nina Kenyatta (Picture credit: Business Daily Africa)

 Number 6:Ngina Kenyatta, former Kenyan First Lady to the late Jomo Kenyatta

Much of Kenyatta’s wealth is reportedly undeclared, so no one really has an accurate estimation, but the figure being bandied about is $110 million (R1,4 billion).

The Kenyatta family is said to have amassed its riches across a wide spectrum of sectors including banking, farming, education, hospitality, real estate, manufacturing and insurance, Answers Africa reports.

Number 7: Irene Charnley, Smile Telecoms CEO

A former trade unionist and negotiator for the SA National Union of Mineworkers and later an MTN executive director and former Johnnic Communications executive, Charnley founded her telecommunications products company in Mauritius and is believed to be worth around $150 million (R2,1 billion)

Bridgette Motsepe Radebe, wife of Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe, pictured on the red carpet (Picture credit: eNCA)

Number 8: Bridgette Radebe, Mmakau Mining chairperson

SA’s very own mining baroness, Radebe has interests in mining coal, gold, platinum, chrome and uranium and is the first black woman in SA to own a major mining company.

While her net worth has never been publicly released, she is believed to have amassed riches in the region of R1 billion.

Number 9: Sharon Wapnick, partner at TWB Attorneys

Daughter of billionaire businessman Alec Wapnick, she has created her own wealth primarily through investments in the investment and real estate sectors.

She’s one of the largest individual shareholders of Octodec Investments and Premium Properties Limited, with a net worth estimated to be around $43 million (R625 million).

Sharon Wapnick (Picture credit: TWB Attorneys)

Number 10: Elisabeth Bradley, Wesco Investments Limited chairman

Bradley has created her wealth – last believed to be around $32 million (R465 million) – from investments in companies and assets. She reportedly pocketed a smooth $150 million from Wesco’s sale of its 25% stake in Toyota SA in 2008. Her father Albert Wessels is the man responsible for bringing Toyota to the country.

Sources: Forbes, therichest.com, Answers Africa

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