Meet Africa’s First Female Billionaire: Isabel dos Santos

January 25, 2013  |  

Africa may have its first woman billionaire — Isabel dos Santos, the oldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos. And she has amassed a great deal of her wealth by investing. According to Forbes, Dos Santos, 40, “has been buying more shares of publicly traded companies in Portugal, including shares in a bank and a cable TV company.”

When the magazine calculated those investments combined with other assets Isabel dos Santos holds in at least one bank in Angola, her net worth surpasses the $1 billion mark.

Dos Santos started going into business early. She studied engineering at King’s College in London, where she lived with her mother, who is divorced from President dos Santos. Afterwards, she opened her first business in Luanda, Angola – a restaurant called Miami Beach — in 1997 at age 24, reports Forbes.

Obviously she has a keen eye for business. Last year, she reportedly increased her stake in ZON Multimedia, Portugal’s largest cable TV company, from 4.9 percent to 14.9 percent. Dos Santos, who sits on the boards of several companies in Angola and Portugal, also boosted her stake again through two of her shareholding companies, Kento and Jadeium. So she now owns 28.8 percent of ZON, worth a recent $385 million.

Dos Santos also owns 19.5 percent of Banco BPI, one of Portugal’s largest publicly traded banks. That investment is worth $465 million.

And it isn’t only overseas that dos Santos has investments. In oil- and diamond-rich Angola, she owns a 25 percent share of Banco BIC and that stake is worth a about $160 million. She is also a 25 percent shareholder in Unitel, one of the country’s two mobile phone companies. “That stake alone is worth $1 billion at a minimum, according to several telecom analysts,” says Forbes.

Her father has been president since 1979. The country gained independence from Portugal in 1975.

While she has reached this milestone, Forbes says there is no clear account of the origin of Isabel dos Santos’ fortune.

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  • guest

    Exactly. Get your facts straight MN!

  • Nice man

    Africa is the next great frontier..Business minded people take note.

  • Astrid

    There is just something about this that does not sit well with me. While I feel that she probably invested wisely, I question where the start up money came from. Prob her father, this just screams dirty money gained from a poor mans rib. Just my opinion.

  • GeekMommaRants

    If someone starts a company and earns billions they are successful. However, if your father is the president of a country. Then you are a baby thieve, we would say the same of Malia and Sacha Obama.

    • kierah

      Malia and Sasha’s father has had power for 4 years. This man has run the country for 34 years. There is rampant corruption and poverty in her country. The US has its issues but I won’t pretend our poverty level is like that of Angola.

      If not for ill-gotten gains, she wouldn’t have this wealth.

      The Obama family only really came up when Barack Obama sold his first book. That was pre-Presidency. Don’t sully Malia and Sasha Obama by saying that will not make their own ways in life.

      • GeekMommaRants

        Yes, that is exactly what I meant. There is no intention to offend any citizen of Angola with my remarks which is why I mention the Obama girls.

  • It’s nice for an African woman to have power and wealth, however in this case unfortunately we’re talking about dirty money, someone who got up ’cause of her Dad, who btw is very close to being a dictator and who stole millions of dollars gathered in those ”help the starving children in Africa” type of charities… Nobody likes her in Portugal, which is were I’m from. She didn’t come from nothing and got her billions like Oprah, it’s all blood diamond’s money! While she’s in Lisbon, with her private jet parked, staying at the Four Seasons, buying Hermés, LV and Dolce&Gabbana and negotiating with corrupt people, millions are dying in her country, one the most unsafe in the world, from hunger, violence and diseases.

  • Africanpride

    I am disgusted by these rich Africans. Africans, want to accumulate wealth without giving back. That’s the concept non blacks learned and has helped them.

  • JaneDoe

    I want to be just like her when I get older

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