Africa’s richest woman just got richer

Africa’s richest woman has added another slice of Angola’s economy to her portfolio.

Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the country’s president, has just secured a controlling stake in the oil-rich nation’s largest bank.

The precise details may seem unremarkable. A few shares are traded… and one company’s stake in an Angolan bank edges over the 50 per cent mark.

But the result is that Africa’s richest woman is now reported to have taken control of another key piece of Angola’s economy.

The move has left observers pondering whether to applaud a savvy female entrepreneur or to bemoan the enduring power of the continent’s entrenched elites.

Isabel dos Santos is 43, ambitious, successful and unusual in a region where men still rule most boardrooms.

But Ms dos Santos is also the oldest daughter of Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a man who has run the country since 1979.

Angola is one of the world’s least developed nations. In recent years it has benefited from an oil boom and Chinese investment. But corruption and poverty remain huge challenges.

The president’s daughter has repeatedly tried to shrug off allegations of nepotism, of the first family looking to form an economic and political dynasty that will live on after the president steps down, as he’s recently promised to do.

But Ms dos Santos already controls Angola’s state oil company, and it’s largest telephone company. Now, with those extra shares, she’s added the country’s largest bank – BFA. The family’s dominant role in the country seems likely to endure.



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