Inside Wealth: People

The world’s richest women by region

World’s richest women by region


With the world's billionaire population hitting an all-time high this year, global billionaire wealth now stands at a whopping $7.3 trillion.

Women control almost 13 percent of this wealth and account for 12.3 percent of the world's total billionaire population, according to the recently published report by ultra-high net worth data firm Wealth-X and Swiss bank UBS.

Of the world's 286 female billionaires, the average age is 61. Here, using data from Wealth-X and the UBS Billionaire Census 2014, we take a look at who the wealthiest women by region are and how they made their fortunes.

—By CNBC's Jenny Cosgrave
Posted 29 Oct. 2014

Christy Walton, North America

The majority of billionaires on the latest Forbes list who are women made their money from marriage or inheritance. That includes Christy Walton, America’s richest woman and the widow of one of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton’s sons.
Getty Images

Estimated net worth $37.9 billion

Christy Walton is the richest woman not only in North America but the world. She's worth an estimated $37.9 billion after she inherited a portion of the Wal-Mart fortune from her late husband, John Walton in 2005, who was son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

Liliane Bettencourt, Europe


Estimated net worth: $31.3 billion

Coming in second place is L'Oreal heiress Liliane Bettencourt, whose personal fortune comes to $31.3 billion, making her the second richest woman in the world and wealthiest woman in Europe. At age 92, Bettencourt still owns about 30 percent of the French cosmetics giant and is also the oldest female billionaire.

Gina Rinehart, Asia-Pacific

Bloomberg | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Estimated net worth: $14.8 billion

Mining heiress Gina Rinehart is Australia's wealthiest person, according to Forbes, and Wealth-X and UBS have ranked her as the richest woman in the Pacific region.

Rinehart's fortune stems from iron ore and coal projects in Australia discovered by her father, Lang Hancock. She is chairwoman of Hancock Prospecting and is Fairfax Media's largest shareholder.

Soumaya Slim de Romero, Latin America


Estimated net worth: $6.3 billion each

The daughters of Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim are the richest women in Latin America.

Slim, who Forbes says is the world's second-richest man, is said to be quietly giving large chunks of his empire to his children, including daughters Vanessa Paola Slim Hajj Maria, Soumaya Slim de Romero (pictured) and Johanna Monique Slim Ayub.

Yang Huiyan, Asia

Yang Huiyan, a major shareholder of Country Garden and Chinese Mainlands richest woman.
Imaginechina via AP Images

Estimated net worth: $6.3 billion

At 33, Yang Huiyan is the youngest female billionaire. Huiyan is daughter of Yang Guoquiang, who transferred 70 percent of his shares in Country Garden Group, a Chinese real estate development firm, to her before its 2007 IPO.

Huiyan is now vice chairman and a member of the board's governance committee.

Shari Arison, Middle East

Stuart C. Wilson, Getty Images News

Estimated net worth: $4.2 billion

Owner of Arison Group, Shari Arison is the richest woman in the Middle East, inheriting much of her fortune from her father Ted Arison's business, Carnival Cruise Lines.

Through her firm's business arm Arison Investments, she is the largest shareholder of Israeli bank Bank Hapoalim and has major stakes in real estate group Shikun and Binui and leading Israeli salt manufacturer Salt of the Earth.

Folorunsho Alakija, Africa

Bennett Raglin | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Estimated new worth: $1.2 billion

Folorunsho Alakija, the Nigerian businesswoman and one of richest women in Africa, founded her own tailoring company, Supreme Stitches.

In 1993, she acquired an oil prospecting license that granted her a lucrative block in Nigeria's coastal waters. Her company, Famfa Oil, now holds a 60 percent stake in the oil field, according to Forbes.

Forbes says Isabel de Santos from Angola is Africa's richest woman with $3.5 billion, but Wealth X says her primary business address is Portugal.