Three Black Women Make the 2014 Forbes Billionaires List

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The 2014 Forbes Billionaires list is out and there's a whole new line up of business women that have ranked highly.  42 of the 268 newcomers are billionaire women. That brings the total number of women to 172.

Forbes counts 1,645 billionaires in the world. From what we can see, less than a handful of Black women made the list including: Oprah $2.9B, Angola's Isabel dos Santos $3.7B, and Nigeria's Folorunsho Alakija $2.5B.

Their wealth is nearly incomprehensible to those of us who have to work everyday, but to put it into perspective: none of the Black women even cracked the top 400.

Isabel dos Santos

From Forbes: Isabel dos Santos, oldest daughter of Angola's longtime president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is Africa's richest woman. Though her representatives deny that her holdings have any connection with her father, Forbes research shows that the president has transferred stakes in several companies to his daughter. Holdings in Angola include 25% of Unitel, the largest mobile phone network operator, and a state in Banco BIC. In Portugal she owns 50% of cable TV and Internet firm Zon Optimus and, alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim, a nearly 7% stake in Portuguese oil and gas firm Galp Energia. Her next bid: opening Sonae hypermarkets in Angola with Portuguese billionaire Belmiro de Azevedo.

Oprah Winfrey

Though she turned 60 in January, Winfrey is still going at a furious pace. Forbes' only African-American billionaire has been a red carpet staple this film awards season thanks to a host of nominations for her role in acclaimed historical drama 'Lee Daniels' The Butler'. She also appears to have reversed the fortunes of her once-struggling network OWN, which finally became cash-flow positive in 2013, according to fellow investors the Discovery Channel. OWN's success looks set to continue in 2014, with a much-anticipated reality show about troubled starlet Lindsay Lohan debuting in March and producer Tyler Perry set to helm a talk show on the channel. Winfrey was FORBES' highest-earning celebrity of 2013 (her haul: $77 million); the majority of her net worth still stems from 25 years of her profitable daytime TV show, plus earnings from her Harpo production company, which has a hand in the Dr. Phil, Rachael Ray and Dr. Oz shows. She continues to support educational causes and has spent more than $100 million on the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.

Folorunsho Alakija

Nigeria's first female billionaire, Folorunsho Alakija built her fortune on fashion and oil. She began her career in the 1970s as a secretary in a Nigerian bank before she quit to study fashion design in England. After returning to Nigeria she founded Supreme Stitches, a fashion label that catered to the country's high society women. Her biggest patron was Maryam Babangida, wife to Nigeria's notorious former military president. She reportedly leveraged that relationship to get a lucrative oil prospecting license, which went onto become OML 127. One of Nigeria's most prolific oil blocks, it produces as much as 200,000 barrels per day. Famfa Oil, which Alakija controls, owns a 60% stake in the asset.

Entering into the exclusive club of billionaires isn't simply about working hard, but we certainly admire the feat these women have been able to accomplish.

Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or

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