The picture of a successful African woman is one that is necessary to showcase even as the rights and possibilities for the girl child continue to be emphasized.
Isabel dos Santos fits the bill in this regard, she is the richest woman not only in Angola but in the whole of Africa.
Still, Isabel dos Santos is a hard sell as an inspirational figure. While she insists that she has built her wealth from the ground up with entrepreneurial expertise, she just so happens to be the daughter of Angola’s President.
Critics of the President insist that he is enabling his daughter and other allies to attain great wealth in the country which has one of the worst records of income inequality and is designated as one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
Angola’s economy has also been reeling from the low prices that now characterise the oil market which is the source of 90 per cent of Angola’s foreign exchange earnings.
When President dos Santos appointed Isabel dos Santos the head of state oil company Sonangol, his critics got more insistent about the creation of an elite in Angola. A case questioning the President’s appointment of his daughter is currently being fought out in the Supreme court and while that goes on, Isabel dos Santos has managed to get another big chunk of Angola’s economy in her portfolio.
A case questioning the President’s appointment of his daughter is currently being fought out in the Supreme court and while that goes on, Isabel dos Santos has managed to get another big chunk of Angola’s economy in her portfolio.
Isabel dos Santos has taken control of Angola’s largest bank Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA). The controlling stake in the bank which she now holds was purchased from a Portuguese bank by Angola’s largest phone operator Unitel which is also run by Isabel dos Santos.
The Portugese bank where Ms dos Santos also owns a large stake was forced to sell its stake in BFA after months of pressure from the European Central bank, which said that their exposure to Angolan government debt was too risky under new European banking laws.
So now, the 43-year-old billionaire has a controlling stake in the nation’s largest bank along with control of the state oil company and Angola’s largest phone operator.
It is hard to decide whether to applaud thoroughly Isabel dos Santos’ business acumen or to get angry afresh as the undoubted crowning of the dos Santos family as an economic dynasty even as President dos Santos readies to relinquish the reigns of the Presidency this year.