Folounsho Alakija: Quality that Soars above the Ordinary

by Duchess Magazine

Nigerian entrepreneur and philanthropist Folorunsho Alakija was born on July 15, 1951. She serves as the managing director of The Rose of Sharon Groups and as executive vice chairman of Famfa Oil Limited.

Alakija’s father had eight wives and 52 children, howbeit, she stooped to conquer.

In 2020, Forbes predicted that Alakija’s net worth would reach $1 billion, making her the richest woman in Nigeria.

Alakija left her home country at age seven to attend school in the UK. She had previously attended Muslim High School, Sagamu Nigeria. Returning to England, she enrolled in Pitman’s Central College in Londo to pursue a secretarial degree.

Alakija began her 12-year banking career in 1974 as an executive assistant at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos, Nigeria. She transferred to the former First National Bank of Chicago, which later changed its name to FinBank and was subsequently bought by First City Monument Bank, to serve as the Managing Director’s Executive Secretary. She was appointed the new head of the corporate affairs division at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria (formerly the First National Bank of Chicago), and she then moved on to the position of office assistant in the Treasury Department.

After that, Alakija pursued fashion design studies at the Central School of Fashion and The American College in London. She founded the Supreme Stitches fashion line, which was renamed The Rose of Sharon House of Fashion in 1996. She served as the president and a steadfast trustee for the Nigerian Association of Fashion Designers.

Alakija submitted a request in May 1993 for the issuance of an oil prospecting licence (OPL). The Agbami Field’s 617,000-acre block is located around 100 kilometres offshore of Nigeria, and Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited, has been given permission to conduct oil exploration there. In a joint venture deal signed in September 1996, Alakija gave a 40% stake to Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited, a Texaco wholly owned subsidiary.


Alakija has frequently been named as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes.

She was also awarded an honorary doctorate in business administration on July 17, 2021 by Benson Idahosa University in Benin City.

Philanthropic Works

Alakija founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation, which provides scholarships and small business subsidies to widows and orphans. Alakija has given Yaba College of Technology (Yabatech), a higher educational institution in Lagos, a skills acquisition centre.

She is the principal supporter of the Agbami Medical and Engineering Scholarship Scheme, which yearly serves over 1000 students.

In 2014, she made a significant financial contribution to the completion of a 350-seat lecture theatre at Ibrahim Babangida University, Lapai, Niger State University. In recognition of her generosity, the building was named after her.

Folorunsho Alakija married Modupe Alakija in November 1976 and their union is blessed with four children.

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