Angolan President Appoints Billionaire Daughter As Oil Boss

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has appointed his eldest daughter, Isabel dos Santos, as head of state oil firm Sonangol.

Before the appointment, the president sacked the whole Sonangol board and appointed a new one.

Angola is now Africa’s biggest oil producer since militant attacks have reduced Nigeria’s production, Reuters news agency reports.

Critics castigate Mr dos Santos of mismanaging Angola’s oil wealth and making the elite, mostly his family and political allies, vastly rich.

Forbes named Isabel dos Santos the Africa’s richest woman, and 569th in the world in 2016. The daddy’s girl and African ‘Princess’ has up to $3 Billion in the bank even as the country reportedly live on an average of $2 a day.

According to Forbes, she owns a 7% stake in a Portuguese oil and gas firm Galp Energia with other invetsments in her country Angola.

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Many questions have been raised on how the oldest daughter of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos acquired her wealth. A major tracing of Dos Santos investment in Angola one time gave a hint of the possible source.

The tracing shows that they all stem either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president’s pen that cut her into the action.

But her representatives have denied the claim that her holdings have connections to her father, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who allegedly transferred stakes in several Angolan companies to her.

Forbes quoted one of her representatives as saying:

“Isabel dos Santos is an independent business woman and a private investor representing solely her own interests. Her investments in Angolan and/or in Portuguese companies are transparent and have been conducted through arms length’s transactions involving external entities such as reputed banks and law firms.”

This was after international parliament called for investigation into her wealth.

Her assets in Angola include 25% of Unitel, the country’s largest mobile phone network, and a stake in a bank, Banco BIC. In Portugal she owns a nearly 7% chunk of oil and gas firm Galp Energia (alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim), and nearly 19% of Banco BPI, the country’s fourth-largest bank.

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She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon). In June 2015, media reported that she spent slightly more than $200 million to buy a stake in Portuguese electric power equipment firm Efacec Power Solutions.

Who Is President Jose Eduardo dos Santos?

President Jose Eduardo dos Santos

Her father has been the President of Angola since 1979.  His party, the People’s Movement for the Liberation of Angola (MPLA), has ruled Angola since it gained independence in 1975.

He is the second-longest-serving leader in Africa, coming after President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea, who took power less than two months before dos Santos.

Critics say her story gives a clear view of a sad kleptocratic story that has rocked resource-rich countries around the world.

Angola, though an oil-rich country, is seen internationally and nationally as a fabulously corrupt country. It was labelled the deadliest place in the world to be a child as toddlers starving to death is becoming something less than news, despite the country’s wealth in oil, diamonds, as well as Porsche-driving millionaires.

Locals say they prefer the old Angola before the independence as life was better than now.