Imagine the daughter of a former president awarded several contracts running up to $22 billion each in as much as four different contracts in two years, imagine Angola’s Isabel Dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman.
Isabel Dos Santos was born to the family of the former president of Angola president, President José Eduardo dos Santos whose rulership lasted from 1979 to 2017.
Isabel, regarded as the face of a successful African businesswoman, is Africa’s richest woman with a net worth of over $2.3 billion. To deny that she had access and privilege will be to shoot ourselves in the foot. However, one thing is certain: She has shown her capacity to lead, control and also generate more revenue. To downplay her role in the Angola state would be undermining.
Her ability to think about servicing the needs of people in the littlest ways earned her deep recognition. Asides holding various management positions, Isabel’s working experience spans across various businesses ranging from the environment (project management); trucking business, cement business, and nightclubs.
The 45-year-old’s fortunes grew after she invested in several industries including telecommunications, media, retail, finance and energy. Her biggest achievement on her scorecard is perhaps establishing UNITEL with Portugal Telecom. This partnership not only boosted the telecommunication services in the country, but it also became an avenue to invest in engineers, technicians leading to the creation of jobs.
More so, her acquisition of ZAP, a satellite television operator ensured that she had access and gained the right to distribute Forbes to Portugal, Angola and Mozambique. A local team would produce the Portuguese Forbes.
In 2015, she was named by the BBC as one of the 100 most influential women in the world.
Owing to her father’s influence, she was appointed the chairwoman of Sonangol, Angola’s oil company in 2016.
Her immerse wealth was threatened when in 2018, the new president of Angola, General João Lourenço cancelled four of her contracts. Yet, she has remained on the Forbes list.
Isabel’s secret to staying strong might as well be found in this statement told to Forbes by her spokesperson:
Isabel is an independent businesswoman and a private investor representing solely her own interests.