Africa’s richest woman isn’t ready to give up on wealth yet

Isabel dos Santos — Photo Credit: ANGOP

With an estimated wealth of $2.5 billion, 44-year-old Isabel dos Santos is treading new grounds to increase her wealth after she was fired from her position as the head of Angola’s state oil company Sonangol.

The daughter of the oil-rich country’s former president Jose Eduardo dos Santos said the new president João Lourenço’s decision to fire her is “normal” and she is planning on selling shares of two major banks in the country to strengthen their resolve, reports Bloomberg.

“I’m not a politician and my focus is on business, on building businesses … These banks have gone from strength to strength and I think it’s time now to open their capital and receive new shareholders,” she said at a conference in the Egyptian resort of Sharm El-Sheikh.

Isabel is the vice president of Angola’s second-largest bank Banco de Fomento Angola controlled by state-owned telecommunication company Unitel of which she owns 25 percent shares.

She also owns 43 percent shares in Angola’s fourth largest bank Banco BIC of which she is a board member. The bank operates in Angola, Namibia, Cape Verde and Portugal and is looking forward to other merger opportunities.

She has investments in Portuguese oil company Galp Energia since 2008 and holds an indirect stake, along with Sonangol and the heirs of Portuguese investor Americo Amorim. She invested in Portuguese cable operator NOS which she controls jointly with Sonaecom SGPS SA.

Isabel dos Santos was named 74th in Forbes 100 most powerful women in the world in 2017, the only African on the list.

She ranks 630 on the world billionaires list and ranks 8th in Africa.

She started gaining wealth in 2012 with $500 million. It rose to $3.7 billion in November 2014. Her earnings have been falling since.

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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