According to studies done by the UN, the economic participation of African women is necessary and valuable to the health and wealth of any economy. In this article we look at Africa’s 10 richest women.

When more African women actively participate in the economy, faster growth is experienced. Not only do the lives of women and their families change for the better (with equal pay and equal opportunities, which is currently still a problem worldwide), but also, business benefits from the impact and influence of women. Companies with just three or more women in senior management functions score higher in all dimensions of organisational effectiveness.

Considering this, Africa can take pride in the success of African women business leaders and entrepreneurs on the continent. They have made strides in making the continent a better place to live in, and they are inspiring change in culture and perception about women leaders.

Here are Africa’s 10 richest women who not only inspire with the wealth they’ve been able to generate for themselves and their communities but also with words of wisdom that help in building a successful career.

Bridgette Radebe

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Executive Chairperson of Mmakau Mining

Net worth: Over $809 million.

Watch an interview with Bridgette Radebe as she explains her secret to success:

Hajia Bola Shagaya

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Founder and CEO of Bolmus Group International – a Nigerian conglomerate which is involved in oil, real estate, banking, fast moving consumer goods and communications.

Net worth: $850 million.

Secrets to success: Focusing on work Mondays to Fridays and taking time to rest and catch up with friends and family on weekends; staying devoted to her faith; getting to bed at 9pm and waking up at 5am and taking time to build business networks.

Quote: One friend said, “Two things that make her stand out include her great business acumen and networking skills. The combination of those two attributes have made her the success she is today”.

Wendy Appelbaum

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Co-owner of Chair De Morgenzen Wine Estate, which is one of the top-ranked Cape Town wine farms.

Net worth: Over R2 billion.

Secrets to success: Wendy places an emphasis on giving back to society. A large portion of her philanthropic efforts have been focused on giving back to charities that help women. “For me it’s a no-brainer. It’s an honor and a privilege to give back to the society in which I live,” says Appelbaum in an interview with Kristin Palitza.

Quote: “The more you have the more responsibility you have to share it with those who don’t.”

Wendy Ackerman

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Co-owner the Pick ‘n Pay retail establishment and Ackerman Family Trust.

Net worth: Over R1 Billion

Secrets to success: According to Ackerman, constant hard work has been her main key to success. I have never been lazy and I have always pushed myself. I don’t know where the stamina comes from,” Ackerman says in an interview with IOL.

Quote: “From a small child I realized I was in a privileged position. I saw those who did not have a chance for an education and my heart went out to them.”

Tabitha Karanja

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Founder and CEO of Keroche Industries Ltd.

Net worth: Over $14 million.

Secret to success: Her secret to success has been hard work and facing challenges in business head on.

Quote: “Even for a young girl all she thinks is to get married, get children take care of the husband,” she says in an interview with CNN. “But if our culture can change that – yes, you’ll get married, get your children, but also there is something else that you need to do: you need to develop your country in one way or the other.”

Jane Wanjiru Michuki

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Lawyer, businesswoman, investor and Managing Partner at Kimani & Michuki Advocates

Net worth: Over $50 million.

Secret to success: She believes in women being resolute and strong, pursuing their dreams and ambitions.

Folorunsho Alakija

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Vice Chairperson of Famfa Oil.

Net worth: Over $1 billion.

Secret to success: Alakija believes that it is important to find God’s purpose for your life and embark on it, and to be determined to succeed through perseverance and diligence.

Quote: “Always remember, that anything worth doing at all is worth doing well.”

Njeri Rionge

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Co-founder of various companies including Wananchi Online and Ignite Consulting.

Net worth: Over $100 million.

Secrets to success: Ring believes in being accountable in business. In an interview with Forbes, she says, “When you’re in business, you are responsible for the good, the bad and the ugly. Pay attention at all times and take responsibility for all that you and your organization does throughout its tenure.”

Quote: “Being in business is like learning to ride a bike or driving a car. You need only to believe in yourself, trust your gut feeling and develop a clear plan or strategy. Keep it simple and implement that plan step by step with courage, conviction and love above all. Ultimately be open minded and flexible to change course when needed and listen to your customers.”

Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Founder and Managing Director of SoleRebels

Net worth: Over $5 million.

Secrets to success: Alemu believes that passion for her work drives her success.

Quote: “Love what you do, because without a genuine love and passion, you won’t be successful.”

Divine Ndhlukula

Africa’s 10 richest women

Who: Founder and Managing Director of SECURICO, one of Zimbabwe’s largest security companies.

Secret to success: Ndhlukula believes that success is found in the day-to-day efforts that one takes. in an interview with Forbes, she says, “The biggest lesson I have learnt so far is that nothing comes easy. While I had always knew I was going to make it in business, I had not really anticipated the amount of hard work, discipline, commitment and determination I needed to get here.”

Quote: “If you want a certain future, go out and create it. Conquer your fears as that is what enslaves most women. Opportunities are now galore.  We just need to roll up our sleeves, lift our feet, and walk through the door as no one will carry us.”

Lebo Matshego
South African journalist based in Johannesburg. A Wits University graduate, Lebo enjoys writing lifestyle and entertainment stories.