The Ten Richest Women in Africa and What They Do as Millionaires

South African Wildlife: Purple Heron

Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng Province, South Africa
Marievale Bird Sanctuary, Gauteng Province, South Africa | Source

South African Wealth In the 21st Century

The following group of nine business women in Africa enjoy a net worth of over $30,000,000 (USD) each; some, much more.. The list comes from a compilation I gathered from various lists and profiles in Forbes.com, CNNMoney, US News and World Reports, and Google News.. The wealthiest women are significantly more wealthy than the number ten person, whose net worth is "only" $16,100,000 as of February 2012. Updates as of December 31. 2014 are supplied by data at AtlantaBlackstar.com and Forbes.com.

Eight out of the nine individuals listed below are from South Africa, where the fields of gems, metals, and minerals are of great worth themselves. One is the President of Angola's daughter and while his influence has helped her, she has completed much work on her own toward her fortune.

Five of the top women millionaires are women of color and most of the list uses their wealth and influence to create additional jobs in South and Central Africa and to increase the standard of living for lower- and middle-income people.

10) Sharon Wapnik

Down from Number Eight in 2011, Ms. Wapnik made her fortune of 334 Million Rand or 43.1 Million USD in Investments and Real Estate in 2014 - 2015. She is an attorney, but also Chairman and Director of Premium Properties Limited.

In addition, Ms. Wapnek chairs and directs Octodex Investments Limited. She is daughter to billionaire Alec Wapnick, founder of City Property in 1938.

9) Bridgette Radebe, Mining Mogul

Down from Number 4 in 2011, Ms. Radebe (born in 1960) is the Chairman of the extremely successful Mmakau Mining in South Africa. and her company is active in mining coal, gold, platinum, chrome, and uranium, as well as pursing mining interests and related commercial endeavors.. She started out working in the mines herself as a contract miner in the 1980s. It was hard work she welcomed and it brought her experience and income enough to found her own mining business on her own, the first black woman in SA to do so in mining. While her net worth is large, it is currently not published.

This business person overcame racial and gender prejudice in South Africa to earn a mining license and to become successful. Ms. Radabe received the International Businessperson of the Year Award in 2008 from the Global Foundation for Democracy for her success and her achievements in eliminating poverty in South Africa. Serving on various boards and a foundation of her own creation, Ms. Radebe would like South Africa to consider nationalization of mining or some sort of partnership between public and private sectors over a strictly capitalistic system. This would combat monopolies in natural resources, she feels.

SOUTH AFRICA'S FIRST BLACK BILLIONAIRE

Ms. Radebe's younger brother, Patrice Motsepe, is himself worth $3.3 Billion in Johannesburg; this is totally separate from his wife's net worth. After becoming a successful attorney, Mr. Motsepe began mine contracting work and progressed upward in labor through management and ownership in the lucrative mining industry. He began with low-producing mines that he turned around beginning in 1994 to provide huge revenues and profits as well as jobs for South Africans.

Both millionaire sister and billionaire brother worked hard in the mines of South Africa, saved money, and founded their own businesses.

Red Helmet
Red Helmet

In the United States, we do not mine diamonds, but coal has been a top source of energy for over 200 years. Homer Hickam grew up in the coal industry before working for NASA, and has written about the era in which women first came to work as mining engineers. They wore Red Helmets like any probationary crewman so that the work crews could look out for them. It is hazardous employment.

 

8) Irene Charnley - Telecommunications

Irene Charnley (born 1960) was Number Six in 2011. She is the Executive Director of MTN Telecommunications in South Africa, but first, she was a union negotiator for the National Union of Mineworkers in SA. She has been a director of MTN telecommunications company, FirstRand Bank, Johnnic, Johnnic Communications, and Smile Telecoms.

MTN operates stores in at least two dozen African nations and Middle East countries as of 2012. Ms. Charnley is no longer Executive Director of the company, but serves on the board and has amassed a net worth of what is believed to be $150 Million. In 2012, she is currently the CEO of Smile Telecoms, an affordable telecommunications products company working out of Mauritias.

The company helps lower-income individuals to have telecommunications and continues a line of anti-poverty programs Ms. Charnley began with MTN. She also founded the National Empowerment Consortium in South Africa to include 50% black business owners and 50% black laborers.

An MTN Mobile store

Source

Off the Coast of Madagascar

A markerMauritias -
Mauritius
[get directions]

7) Wendy Ackerman

Wendy Ackerman was on this list as Number Two in 2011 as a Retail Tycoon in South Africa. She and her husband own Ackerman Family Trust. Her net worth is 1.4 Billion Rand or 190.2 Million USD.The Trust owns about 50% of Pick ‘n’ Pay, a major South African grocery-retail chain.

The 3 Billion USD company (June 2011) owns retail outlets in Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe. and Australia. Ms. Ackerman is the Executive Director of Pick 'n' Pay, the chain that sells food, general merchandise and clothing and that employs 38,000 or more people.

6) Wendy Appelbaum

Ms. Appelbaum's net worth reported by Forbes in early 2012 as 1.99 Billion African Rand or 259.3 Million USD. She and her husband own Chair De Morgenzen Wine Estate.

Her net worth has been amassed through a family trust with which she is connected. It is the Gordon Family Trust.

Ms. Appelbaum is the director of Pick N Pay Holdings Limited. Ms. Appelbaum was Number Two on this list in 2011. In 2014, she was worth 2.6 Billion Rand.

5) Elisabeth Bradley

Elisabeth Bradley was Number Nine on this list for 2011. She enjoyed a net worth in mid-2011 of 246 Million Rand or 32 Million USD, all results of her Investments portfolio.

Ms. Bradley is Chairman of Wesco Investments Limited, Vice-Chairman of Toyota South Africa Limited, and a Director of AngloGold.

She is on the boards of Standard Bank Group, Hilton Hotel and Roseback Inn.

4) Hajia Bola Shagaya

This successful woman is form Nigeria, where I have many friends. I am happy to see her to appear on the list of the 10 Richest Women in Africa for 2014, 2015, and 2016. In addition, she is near the middle of the list. She is the excellent founder and CEO of the conglomerate called Bolmus Group International.

Her company is a diverse and well known for business transactions in oil, real estate, and banking. Her ventures reach across the oceans to America and Europe.

A respected board member of Unity Bank PLC, her net worth is reported at $600 million USD. She is quite the example to young women who want to pursue business careers.

3) Ngina Kenyatta - Billionaire

Popularly known as Mama Ngina, this successful woman is the widow of Kenya’s fourth president, President Jomo Kenyatta.

A major shareholder in a large bank, Mrs. Kenyatta also has businesses involved in agriculture, additional banking, education, hospitality, insurance, and real estate.

Some of her wealth is undeclared in the media, but sources report at least $1,000,000,000 reported to the press.

2) Folorunsho Alakija - Fashion and Oil

Ms. Alakija, another Nigerian, began a course of secretarial studies and fashion design, but changed tracks. She returned to Nigeria and worked hard - she did not inherit money.

She founded a tailoring business, Supreme Stitches, and has completed work for former first ladies of the nation.

Later, her investments allowed her huge success in the famous and successful Nigerian oil industry, which has a long history. Her net worth at the end of 2014 was reported as $2.5 billion USD.

Isabel Jose Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of the nation's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos

Investment Fortunes

Isabel Dos Santos, born 1973
Isabel Dos Santos, born 1973 | Source

1) Isabel Jose Dos Santos

Isabel Jose Dos Santos is the Wealthiest Woman in Africa and is from Angola. This nation is in the Central Area of the continent of Africa and on the Atlantic coast.

Ms. Dos Santos made her millions in Investments. Forbes Magazine reported that she is worth 1.3 Billion Rand or $170 Million USD in 2011, but 3.7 billion USD at the end of 2014 and 2015.. She also married a millionaire, Sindika Dokolo, from Congo.

Isabel is he oldest daughter of the nation's President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, whose term in office has run from 1979 to date. He has influenced some of her business dealings, but she has accomplished much on her own. CBS News has called President Dos Santos one of the world's enduring dictators (reference: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503543_162-20064329-503543.html),bringing the nation's oil business, diamond mines, and politics into his control. He has, indeed, gathered all of Angola's natural resources under his control.

Angola's Constitution is based on Portuguese law and many of Isabel's investments are largely in Portugal or of Portuguese origin. These include:

  • Banco Espírito Santo - Finance, banking
  • Banco Português de Investimento - Finance, banking
  • Energias de Portugal - Energy (electricity)
  • Kento Holding - In Malta at 100% ownership by Isabel. The holding company owns 10% of Zon Multimedia media giant and part of Portugal Telecom in Portugal.
  • Commercial holdings in oil and diamond mines within Angola.
  • Purchased retail interests in 2011 and plans a supermarket opening in 2013.

Isabel Jose Dos Santos owns a quarter of Unitel, the largest mobile phone carrier in Angola.

Business Success by Women in Africa

show route and directions
A markerAngola -
Angola
[get directions]

B markerSouth Africa -
South Africa
[get directions]

C markerMauritias or Mauritius -
Mauritius
[get directions]

D markerPortugal -
Portugal
[get directions]

Additional Very Rich African Women

A Gold Mining Woman

Mamphela Ramphele (born 1947) is a physician and professor-researcher as well as a business person who placed Number Five among the most wealth women in Africa in 2011.

As Chairperson of Gold Fields since 2010, she is busy in mining and processing gold and employing 45,000 workers. Company assets in mid-2011 were 70 Billion Rand or 90.9 Million USD (references: Forbes Magazine and Mining Weekly [June 2011]).

Born into South Africa, she enrolled in the only medical school that would accept black students without specific government clearance and written authorization - University of Natal Medical School. After graduation four years later, she began to work against apartheid politically and was banished for seven years to a small town by the government.

However, she continued to education in social sciences and finally became a Director of the World Bank. She has earned a number of awards and sits as trustee in several company boards in Africa and the USA. She was the first black woman appointed as University of Cape Town vice chancellor in 1996

© 2012 Patty Inglish

More by this Author


Comments 55 comments

Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 16 months ago from North America Author

Some of the richest women in Africa have become even wealthier and two Nigerians have joined the Top Ten List since 2011. Three are billionaires.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 22 months ago from North America Author

Thanks for passing it on - it can be a good motivation. I appreciate our comments.


Johnique Davis profile image

Johnique Davis 22 months ago from Illinois

Thanks for sharing your research. I will definitely share with my daughters and the young ladies I mentor.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 3 years ago from North America Author

I hope they enjoy the stories and find them useful. Perhaos these women can act as role models, among others around the world.


faithbuilder23 profile image

faithbuilder23 3 years ago from Pennsylvania

Thanks for sharing this great read. I will have to share this with the kids in my class.


stars439 profile image

stars439 4 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Interesting hub Dear Heart. God Bless You.


yvonne16 profile image

yvonne16 4 years ago from Philippines

really interesting as I have this connotation that Rich People are only distributed in different continents but never in my mind there are a lot in Africa...we frequently see really poor little boys and girls in Social Media pics taken from Africa who are really malnourished because of lack of food and water...we just hope and pray that these rich women of Africa donates some of their spare cash to African's Charities...


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Well, here is the proof in pictures as well as words for people to see. Let it be known that so many people of any gender can do so many things.


editorsupremo profile image

editorsupremo 4 years ago from London, England

This is an amazing hub. Unfortunately the stereotyping of people of color in Africa would prevent us from ever thinking that a black African woman could be intelligent, wealthy and successful. Thanks for bringing this subject to the fore so that others may become informed that people of color can be successful. It is also great to read that they are using their wealth in a philathropic way as well.

Voted up

Voted up.


LucidDreams profile image

LucidDreams 4 years ago from St Petersburg, Florida

Hi Patty,

I thought this was a very interesting hub based on a subject that would have never occurred to me. Great research and fun facts. Thanks again for the read.


El Ray 4 years ago

Hi Patty Inglish! From everything I've read or seen in documentaries recently, SA is one of the most exciting places to do business and make investments in right now. I think it's great that women aren't taking a back seat to anyone and are achieving great success in SA!

Voting this hub article Up + Awesome!


BethDW 4 years ago

Really interesting hub idea, and well researched! I'm an student studying international development, and I'm going to pass this on to some of my peers who I know will find this topic very interesting!


girltalksshop 4 years ago

Wow...lucky women, huh? Interesting hub so voted it up! : )


fyyonn profile image

fyyonn 4 years ago

It is interesting to learn how other women are making it in the business world. This is intriguing.

Thank you.


am301986 profile image

am301986 4 years ago from New Delhi

Great job done...thanks for such an informative hub. cheers :)


Teresa Schultz profile image

Teresa Schultz 4 years ago from East London, in South Africa

Interesting indeed when these women are in South Africa or close to South Africa (where I live) and I didn't know about most of them - perhaps only Wendy Ackerman because of her famous husband, and Pam Golding because of Pam Golding estate agent businesses scattered all over South Africa.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

It's a pretty amazing set of personal accomplishments for these women!


CZCZCZ profile image

CZCZCZ 4 years ago from Oregon

Really interesting hub, thanks for putting this information together about successful women in Africa. It is always interesting to read about successful people and what they are doing with their cash.


Nare Anthony profile image

Nare Anthony 4 years ago

Very interesting. You are writing in a beautiful style :)


tapasrecipe profile image

tapasrecipe 4 years ago from Spanish tapas land

really informative, thanks


khmohsin profile image

khmohsin 4 years ago from London,UK

Informative and interesting which we share with you so i think so it is very useful and knowledgeable. I would like to thank you for the efforts. I am tiring the same best work from me in the future as well.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

OK< I'm going to start on this, this week!


Journey * profile image

Journey * 4 years ago from USA

Voted awesome! This hub is so interesting and refreshing to read. Continuing with other countries is a great idea if you decide to go for it.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

This makes me want to look up the millionaires and billionaires among women in other countries!


Kebennett1 profile image

Kebennett1 4 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

How wonderful to read of the success of these women. Usually when you hear of Billionaires and Millionaires they are men. It is nice to see that there are women well noted also. This is a very well constructed hub. You did a great job!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Hello everyone!

It is certainly difficult t be a miner, as I learned from listening to a great uncle that worked in the coal mines of southern Ohio. Homer Hickam wrote about his experiences in the mines before he went off to college; and about the people who stayed to work in the mining town = so many deaths. Gold and diamond mining may have a little less dust than coal, but much danger as well.

Thanks for the comments!


DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

DeBorrah K. Ogans 4 years ago

Patty Inglish, Wonderful presentation! Very informative & interesting! Thank You for sharing, Peace & Blesings!


Jean-ette profile image

Jean-ette 4 years ago

Really interesting to read this, I especially admire the women who worked hard to improve their lives and are now helping others. Such brave women! Thanks for sharing this information Patty.


susanna NY profile image

susanna NY 4 years ago

I love this.


msorensson profile image

msorensson 4 years ago

Eye opening hub. Thank you.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thank you very much!


samadaslam profile image

samadaslam 4 years ago

Wow... I could never imagine that such rich women are there in Africa. Well Isable Jose is too good looking. I would marry her if she would be of my age. :)

Great hub with full of amazing information. You impressed me with your research and knowledge. Following you dear!


Budman610 profile image

Budman610 4 years ago from Ohio

That is interesting. A topic I would never have thought about!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thanks for spotlighting the child labor problems. This warrants some additional research.


trimar7 profile image

trimar7 4 years ago from New York

This is an interesting hub. I have some concerns about how the money is made whether it be male or female when I watch videos of young children mining for a pail of dirt hoping that a small piece of gold may be lingering in the dirt. If there is none, the children, who should be in school, toiled for nothing. In regards to the other wealth made, I congratulate them and hope they are supporting and contributing greatly to the women and children who have nothing. I am sure they are and care very much about their people. Thank you for writing an informative hub!


kaledra13 profile image

kaledra13 4 years ago from Virginia

I really like this hub. As an American I hate to say I know nothing about these talented women and it is very interesting to see how people develop their personal wealth. Very informative. Thank you for the hub.


Artin2010 profile image

Artin2010 4 years ago from Northwestern Florida, Gulfcoast

That was an interesting read. I noticed non of them are from around the Somalia area. It's really something that there is so much wealth over there, yet other countries have to feed starving people and provide healthcare for millions of people there. Kind of makes one wonder. Great information. Thank you, Art


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

I thought I'd dig around for this information, because we hear so much about American Black History Molnth - What about Africa, I thought.


pandula77 profile image

pandula77 4 years ago from Norway

Nicely presented....enjoy reading your article


RetailRich profile image

RetailRich 4 years ago

Fascinating article on a group of woman, I've never even thought about.


stessily 4 years ago

Patty Inglish, These wealthy women certainly show that there is no unsuitable job for them. It sounds as though they are hands-on and walk the talk so they thoroughly know their areas of expertise. The commitment displayed by Bridgette Radebe in climbing the ladder from the bottom all the way up to the top is impressive.

Thank you for compiling this information and sharing it.


Vusi Zulu 4 years ago

Wow this is trully insparational stuff, who would ve known such interesting facts. Keep up the great work ladies and well researched :)


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Ms. Rachel Temu- One cannot disagree with facts. You did not read and attend the title or article - the most wealthy women on the whole continent of Africa are from South Africa. But, if you have women as wealthy elsewhere on the continent, I will like to know and add them. Please list them, their net worth and the reference for each one in comments.


Rachel Temu 4 years ago

How comes we don't have other women from African coutries its only South Africa?

This statics were taken in Southern Part of Africa. I disagree with the results


jpcmc profile image

jpcmc 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

Such a fabulous roster of women.


dslrtips profile image

dslrtips 4 years ago from Evergreen Manison

Very informative, maybe someday SA will have a show like UK dragon's den..


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

Thank you all for posting comments after reading this Hub; it took some work, to be sure, and as fun to write after gather the information.


OLDNAVY 4 years ago

Very interesting. Excellent unknown history facts. Thanks for sharing.


dagny roth profile image

dagny roth 4 years ago from Neverland

What a cool hub! I enjoyed reading this informative info on these powerful women!!


jenubouka 4 years ago

I always enjoy reading and learning about successful women. Way to go Patty for an awesome hub.


DonnaCosmato profile image

DonnaCosmato 4 years ago from USA

Fascinating information and presented in such an engaging format! Thanks for enlightening me about these awesome women and their fortunes.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

It was quite nice to find out about them and share information. Imagine working down the mines!


Kathleen Cochran profile image

Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

Congratulations to these fabulous women. Thanks for introducing us to them!


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 4 years ago from North America Author

It is interesting to find out about all this. Better than sitting in a classroom. Thanks for commenting!


Melovy profile image

Melovy 4 years ago from UK

This is a very interesting hub. I haven’t heard of any of these women before. It’s great to read of a different side of Africa. It is particularly heartening to read about the women such as Ms. Radebe who are actively working to improve conditions for those who have not managed to make the leap that they themselves have.

Thank you for this hub.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Patty Inglish, MS profile image

    Patty Inglish (Patty Inglish, MS)6,757 Followers
    2,169 Articles

    Over 25 years successful experience in Medicine; Health- and I/O Psychology; STEM, STEAM and other education, research, and sports training.



    Click to Rate This Article
    working