The astounding examples of Igbo women who have scaled the peaks of fortune via their inventiveness and hard work abound in Nigeria’s entrepreneurial scene.
As we enter the year 2023, we pay tribute to these trailblazers who have challenged standards, redefined success, and demonstrated that gender is not a barrier to financial success. Their stories highlight the essence of tenacity and drive, reflecting the Igbo culture’s mentality.
1. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala became the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) first female and African Director-General. Iweala, who has worked in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America, and North America for over 30 years, believes that commerce can bring industrialized countries out of poverty.
Iweala serves on the boards of various organizations, including Twitter, Standard Chartered Bank, the Rockefeller Foundation, African Risk Capacity, and the Georgetown Institute for Women. Her net worth is believed to be $550 million.
2. Stella Okoli
Stella Okoli is the founder and CEO of Emzor Pharmaceutical Industries LTD, one of Nigeria’s leading locally made pharmaceutical firms. Okoli, from Nnewi, Anambra, began her career as a medical professional in the United Kingdom.
Her pharmaceutical products, which include antimalarials, vitamins, haematinics, cardioprotective drugs, and antibiotics, are now required in every Nigerian household. Her net worth is thought to be approximately $850 million.
3. Arunma Oteh
Arunma Oteh is an extraordinary economist and businessman who has made an everlasting impression in her area. Notably, she was the Director General of Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from 2010 to 2013, where she managed the nation’s capital market regulation.
Her worldwide prominence grew when she was appointed Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank in 2015, a position she held until 2018. In July 2021, she was named Chair of the Royal African Society.
Arunma Oteh is one of the wealthiest Igbo women, with a net worth of around $80 million, demonstrating her extraordinary achievement in the financial field.
4. Linda Ikeji
Linda Ikeji is the creator of the well-known “lindaikejiblog.” The Nigerian blogger and entrepreneur is from Nkwerre, Imo State. Ikeji moved on from blogging to online radio broadcasting, LindaIkeji Music, and LindaIkeji Social, a social networking platform.
Ikeji is said to have spent over N50 million on cars and N300 million on two residences for her parents. Her fortune is reported to be approximately $40 million as one of the wealthy Igbo ladies.
5. Genevieve Nnaji
Genevieve Nnaji, a well-known Nigerian actress and businesswoman, is one of the richest Igbo women. With an estimated net worth of $9.2 million, she has achieved significant progress in both the entertainment and business worlds.
Genevieve’s career began in Nollywood, where she rose to prominence as a screen legend, appearing in over 90 films. Her abilities extend beyond performing, as she has moved into business with the St.Genevieve apparel line. She has established herself as a renowned personality in the fashion business through relationships with leading Nigerian stores and eCommerce behemoth Jumia.
Genevieve’s financial success is also due to endorsement arrangements with well-known brands such as Amstel Malta, Citron Energy Drink, Polo, Make-Up Designory (MUD), and Etisalat, the latter of which is a ground-breaking N100 million deal.