African MogulsAngolaEntrepreneurship

Isabel dos Santos – Angola

With an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion, Isabel dos Santos is Africas first femake billionaire and the richest woman on the continent.

Isabel accumulated her wealth in oil, diamonds, as well as in the communications and banking sectors. She boasts shareholdings in Portuguese banks and energy firms such as Banco Portugues de Investimento and Portuguese Energias de Portugal respectively. In Angola, she’s the chairwoman of Unitel SA, one of the country’s largest mobile network companies, valued at more than $5 billion.

After school in England, she came back home and worked in different companies before taking up management positions in leading European companies contracted in Angola. Given it was easy for her to get the positions being the daughter of the President, however, she is touted for her exceptional Management skills.  She set up a trucking business after her a few years working as the project manager a cleaning company called Jembas group that had been contracted to clean the city. The widespread use of walkie-talkie technology paved the way for her subsequent foray into telecoms. In 1997, she opened the Miami Beach Club out of her savings. From there, she grew her a trucking company to transport products for the club and other businesses.

Over a period of nearly 20 years, she expanded her business interests, leading to the creation of several holdings, in Angola and mostly abroad, making substantial investments in high-profile enterprises, especially in Portugal.

Investments in Angola

With 51% control of Condis, Isabel dos Santos signed a joint partnership with the Portuguese Sonae group in April 2011 for the development and operation of a retail trading company in Angola which opened Angola's first supermarket in 2013.

She created Unitel in partnership with Portugal Telecom.

Investments in Portugal

Since 2008 she has had telecommunications,  media, retail, finance and the energy industry, both in Angola and in Portugal. In addition to her commercial interest in oil and diamonds, Isabel dos Santos also owns shares in the Angola cement company Nova Cimangola. Jadeium, a company held by Isabel dos Santos, acquired 4.918% of ZON Multimedia shares from Spain’s Telefonica.

Through the Netherlands-based Unitel International Holdings BV,a company controlled by Isabel dos Santos, the Angolan businesswoman is the main shareholder of ZON Multimédia with 29% since July 2012. She is member of the board of Angolan bank in Lisbon, Banco BIC Português, and through Santoro Holding she holds 20% stakes at Banco Português de Investimento. She has other major stakes with the Angolan state oil company  Sonangol through their mutual European Law holding, based in the Netherlands, named Esperanza Holding, in Portuguese Galp Energia. Isabel dos Santos is a founding member and Board member of Banco BIC Português, which recently acquired Banco Português de Negócios, a nationalized bank.

Recent holdings include :

  • Trans Africa Investment Services, a Gibraltar based vehicle founded together with her mother for the diamond business
  • Unitel International Holdings B.V.: change of name of Kento and Jadeium, based in Amsterdam, company-vehicle for Isabel dos Santos’ investment in telecommunications
  • Santoro Finance: company-vehicle for Isabel dos Santos’ investment in Banco BPI based in Lisbon
  • Esperaza Holding B.V.: based in Amsterdam, energy, oil etc.
  • Condis: a retail business based in Luanda

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