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Isabel dos Santos

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Isabel dos Santos
BornIsabel dos Santos
Baku, Azerbaijan
ResidenceLuanda, Angola
EducationKing's College
Spouse(s)Sindika Dokolo (m. 2002)
Parent(s)José Eduardo dos Santos,Tatiana Kukanova

Isabel dos Santos  is an Angolan businesswoman, Africa's richest woman and the eldest child of Angola's former President José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country from 1979 to 2017. In 2013, according to research by Forbes, her net worth had reached more than two billion US dollars, making her Africa’s first billionaire woman.

Early Life[edit | edit source]

On April 1, 1973, Isabel dos Santos was born to Jose Eduardo dos Santos and Tatiana Kukanova in Baku, Azerbaijan. At the time, her birth country was part of the SSR. Isabel's father was the president of Angola from 1979 through 2017, and her mother was his first wife.

As a young child, Isabel dos Santos attended boarding school at the prestigious Cobham Hall, which is located in the United Kingdom. After she completed her preliminary studies, she went to King's College in London and majored in electrical engineering.

While Isabel dos Santos was a student at King's College, she met Sindika Dokolo and they were married several years later in 2002. Isabel and Sindika have four children. Sindika is from what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo and is the son of a Kinshasa millionaire. Isabel and Sindika are both passionate about art, which is why they also spend some of their time and efforts on the Sindika Dokolo Foundation's art gallery, events and causes.

Investments[edit | edit source]

After Isabel dos Santos finished college in the early 1990s, she went back to Angola to start her adult life as an entrepreneur. Later Isabel dos Santos worked for Urbana 2000 as a project management engineer. At the time, the company had secured a contract to clean and disinfect the city as a sanitation initiative, and Isabel's job was to ensure that the tasks were carried out properly and on schedule.

Notable Portuguese Investments[edit | edit source]

Many of Isabel's investments are in Portugal and span multiple industries such as finance, retail, media and energy. Isabel dos Santos serves as a board member for Lisbon's Angolan Bank. She has held interests in multiple industries as well as in telecommunications in Angola and Portugal since 2008. Since 2012, Isabel dos Santos has held a 29 percent stake in Portuguese ZON Multimedia. She also has a 20 percent stake in Banco Portugues de Investimento. The nationalized Banco Portugues de Negocios was recently acquired by Banco BIC Portugues, which was co-founded by Isabel dos Santos. She is a board member of the organization. Unitel International Holdings, of which she currently serves on the board of directors, holds some of her stake in Portuguese companies.[1]

Sonaecom and ZON Multimedia Merger[edit | edit source]

In early 2013, there was a merger between Sonaecom and ZON Multimedia, which Isabel dos Santos facilitated with the help of the General Assembly. The merger was completed later in 2013 with a fund transfer to ZOPT, which then held more than 50 percent of the new group's capital. There was a considerable capital increase for ZOPT that followed a contribution. Sonaecom kept 358 million of the company's shares and delivered more than 80 percent of its stake in Optimus. Isabel dos Santos had the same number of shares for ZOPT through her Unitel and Kento holdings to give her 28 percent stake in ZON Multimedia. When these benefits were combined, Isabel dos Santos and Sonaecom held more than 50 percent stake in the merged entity.[2]

Further Investment Expansion[edit | edit source]

Isabel dos Santos expanded her reach in the telecommunications sector in 2014 when she took over Portugal Telecom. To accomplish this, she bid against Altice. Her offer was formally registered on the Portuguese Securities Market Commission. Through Unitel, Isabel purchased two percent of Banco Fomento de Angola for a capital stake of nearly 52 percent. The transaction was worth 28 million euros. BNA approved the activity, and Isabel decided to sell her Banco BPI interests the same year. In the span of about a decade, Isabel's investments brought in a capital gain of at least 80 million euros for her. Although some of that was from sales, part of it came from dividends.

Notable Holdings[edit | edit source]

In addition to Condis and Unitel, some of Isabel's notable recent holdings include Esperanza Holding B.V., Santoro Finance and Trans Africa Investment Services. Esperanza Holding B.V. is an oil and energy company in the Netherlands, and Santoro Finance is a Banco BPI company vehicle for Isabel's investment with the institution. Trans Africa Investment Services is an investment vehicle in Gibraltar, which Isabel dos Santos co-founded with her mother.

Philanthropy[edit | edit source]

Since Isabel has a deep understanding of poverty, economic development and how to allocate resources, she has been a vital part of many philanthropic efforts to combat poverty in Africa. She directed development projects designed to improve quality of life and sanitation. Isabel dos Santos donated a large amount of personal time to such efforts as well as to grassroots economic development initiatives. Using her knowledge of entertainment and media production, she also helped produce several videos and media communications that displayed the efforts to encourage more support and awareness. Additionally, she used her media skills and fame to help promising African entrepreneurs gain recognition and move forward in their own endeavors.

Global Economy Speaking Events[edit | edit source]

Because of her charity participation, knowledge and experience, Isabel dos Santos is often invited to speak at charitable and economic development events. She made news headlines when she spoke at the ECR Africa Summit, which was hosted by the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium. That summit was an important global event, and Isabel dos Santos voiced her advocacy for increased infrastructure development in Africa. She pointed out how strategically providing internet access to African citizens everywhere would give the people more opportunities to compete in the global digital market and improve their financial health.

Educational Speaking Events[edit | edit source]

In recent years, Isabel dos Santos has also spoken at several educational institutions. In 2018, one of her notable speaking events was at Yale University when she addressed the members and guests of the Yale Undergraduate Association for African Peace and Development. She shared with the students her experiences of working to improve the communities in which she served. YAAPD is an interdisciplinary organization that seeks to identify and enhance the connections between nations, cultures and institutions. Isabel dos Santos also taught the students the importance of using a position of power to give a voice to those who live in poverty and to find ways to meet their needs. She encouraged them to empower the underprivileged groups in their communities and to promote awareness of their situations to the public. Also, she explained the importance of creating opportunities for such individuals, which she demonstrated in the real world by creating tens of thousands of jobs in Africa.

Social Responsibility Leadership[edit | edit source]

Isabel dos Santos believes in strong corporate social responsibility for every business, and her companies are also involved in various charitable causes. Through her guidance, those companies focus on ways to give back to local communities. Employees are encouraged to volunteer and to help the underprivileged population. Some of Isabel's top priorities for charitable giving include health care organizations and educational institutions.

External Links[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.jornaldenegocios.pt/empresas/detalhe/gestor-de-isabel-dos-santos-estamos-para-ficar-em-portugal
  2. https://www.noticiasaominuto.com/economia/1219346/isabel-dos-santos-reeleita-para-conselho-de-administracao-da-unitel

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