Isabel dos Santos is the richest woman not only in Angola but in the whole of Africa according to Forbes. She is also the daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.
On Thursday, Angola’s National State radio (RNA) reported that the President has appointed his daughter as head of state oil firm Sonangol.
This happens as the government aims to turn around the struggling company after low crude prices hit revenue.
The President had initially fired the entire Sonangol board and appointed a new one and citing a presidential decree, RNA said Isabel dos Santos would head that new board and the company at large.
The country had revealed its intent back in April to restructure Sonangol in order that it would “increase efficiency and profitability”. The company had shared expectations for a difficult year in February when it said that it owed greatly increased debts to foreign oil companies.
According to national statistics, Angola imports around 6 million cubic meters of refined products a year. This despite the fact that the OPEC member country is now Africa’s largest oil producer considering militant attacks and other problems that have cut output in Nigeria.
President Dos Santos has been in power in Angola since 1979 making him one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders and although he declared his intent in March to step down as President in 2018, he hinted at no preferred successor.
He has been accused by critics of mismanaging Angola’s oil wealth and sharply dividing the lines between the rich and the poor in the country which is generally ranked among the most corrupt in the world.
The critics insist that he is making an elite, mainly his family and political allies, vastly rich. Isabel dos Santos on her own part has had to fight an upward battle justifying her fortune ever since the announcement that she had become a billionaire.
She insists that her fortune is the result of an entrepreneurial expertise which she has cultivated from a tender age.
One thing is for sure, with this appointment, the entire nation will be watching to see if that entrepreneurial expertise helps to stabilize Sonangol or merely makes her richer and the country needs the former to be true seeing as; oil sales account for more than 90 percent of Angola’s foreign exchange earnings, making Sonangol the biggest source of state funding.