The story behind the richest woman in Africa Isabel dos Santos is, undoubtedly, one among several stories that have gotten the attention of the media across the world. A reason for this is because of the circumstances that led to her sudden rise to stardom. Describing her wealth, according to the African Leadership magazine, she amassed a fortune of more than $3 billion USD, making her the richest woman in Africa. Therefore, in this article, we take a look at the story behind the rise to stardom of this richest woman in Africa 2018 Forbes ranking. We'll also consider the richest woman in the world.
Interestingly, the wealth of Aliaume Damala Badara Akon Thiam, also known as Akon, for instance, cannot be compared to that of Isabel dos Santos. Akon, reported by Nigerian Infopedia to be the richest musician Africa with a net worth of Eighty million dollars according to the Forbes list of the richest musicians in Africa 2018, is still way below Isabel's net worth.
Background information of the richest woman in Africa 2018
Isabel dos Santos dubs the richest woman in Africa 2017 Forbes list and also for 2018. In fact, sequel to her taking over the richest woman in Africa 2017 title, as at 2013, Forbes research found her to be worth more than three billion US dollars. Consequently, she emerged Africa's only female billionaire and also the continent's youngest. Isabel is estimated to be worth $2.7 billion this year as against her net worth of $3.2 billion in 2017. A reason for this is said to be due to a lower value for Banco BIC, an Angolan bank.
The richest black woman in Africa Isabel dos Santos was born 20 April 1973 to the family of the former President of Angola, José Eduardo dos Santos. According to News24, the father was said to have dominated the leadership position of the country for nearly four decades (1979 to 2017). Isabel is the eldest child of her father. Born in Baku, it is recorded that she came to the world while her father was studying at the time in the Soviet republic of Azerbaijan. What is also worth knowing about her is that her father and her mother are divorced.
The Guardian news quoting a 1991 British newspaper report made it known that Isabel spent two years at St Paul's public school in London. Isabel is known with the nickname "the princess" in Angola. She studied electrical engineering and business management at King's College London. The London-educated Isabel got married to a wealthy Congolese businessman and art collector Sindika Dokolo in 2003. Dokolo happens to be the son of Sanu Dokolo, a Kinshasa millionaire.
Isabel dos Santos career
Getting back to Angola after her studies, at the age of 24, Isabel launched her first business venture which was a restaurant in Luanda known to be Miami Beach. She operated Miami Beach club which is recorded to be one of the first nightclubs and beach restaurants that was known on the Luanda Island. Apart from this, since her return to Angola to join her father, she began her work as a project manager engineer for Urbana 2000, a subsidiary of Jembas Group.
More so, Isabel was reported by Forbes to have bought so many shares of publicly traded companies in Portugal. Some of these include the shares in a bank and a cable TV company. She is also said to on the boards of quite a number of companies in Angola and Portugal. As a result of these, she is known to have been instrumental in making business decisions. It is also worth noting that the stakes that she has in most of these companies together with the assets she owns are part of what pushed her to become Africa’s first woman billionaire.
Isabel dos Santos investments profile
Isabel dos Santos is acclaimed to have an array of investments which amounted to taking her to the position of being named as the richest woman in Africa. According to Forbes, Dos Santos has an investment in the following companies:
- The largest shareholder in Zon company, a Portuguese media conglomerate where she sits on the board;
- She has shares in the Portuguese bank Banco BPI, one of Portugal’s largest publicly traded banks;
- Isabel is also a shareholder in Angola's Banco BIC;
- She holds quite some shares in the Angolan telecoms company Unitel;
- Owns 7% of Portuguese oil and gas company Galp Energia.
Wikipedia also records that she has the following holdings to her name:
- Trans Africa Investment Services, a Gibraltar-based vehicle founded together with her mother for the diamond business
- Unitel International Holdings B.V. based in Amsterdam;
- Santoro Finance based in Lisbon;
- Esperaza Holding B.V. which is based in Amsterdam;
- Condis: a retail business based in Luanda.
However, there have been lots of criticisms as touching the wealth accumulation of this richest woman in Africa Angolan citizen. In the article "Daddy's Girl: How An African 'Princess' Banked $3 Billion In A Country Living On $2 A Day" published by Forbes, it was narrated that majority of the Angolan investments of Isabel dos Santos are a result of her influence as the then president's daughter. It explained that most of the investments of this African woman popped up by virtue of claiming a major stake in any company that wants to start up a business in the country.
Apart from that, her wealth was also attributed to the fact that she enjoyed a wealth transfer from the influence of her father being the president of the country at the time. This is a period, as described by Mail & Guardian, where the father ruled as an autocrat and also accused of enriching his family at the expense of ordinary Angolans. However, upon the emergence of the new president of the country, Joao Lourenco, as part of his effort to tackle corruption, he got Isabel fired as head of the country's state oil company Sonangol.
Richest woman in the world 2018
Alice Louise Walton has been announced to be the richest woman in world in 2018. This world's acclaimed richest woman, according to Forbes, is the only daughter of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart. Having taken over the title from Françoise Bettencourt Meyers with a net worth of $42.2 billion, Alice has moved up with a spot making her the 16th richest person in the world. Other information about her include:
- Net worth: $46 billion as against $33.8 billion over the past year.
- Age: 69 years old
- Citizenship: United States
- Education background: Bachelor of Arts/Science from Trinity University.
- Marital status: Divorced
At the moment, Alice Walton is the chairman of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in the family's hometown of Bentonville, Arkansas which she opened in 2011 worth $50 million. The museum houses her $500 million private art collection. Specifically, the museum features works from the likes of Andy Warhol, Norman Rockwell, and Mark Rothko, all of which are said to be original works from the legendary American artists. At the time when the museum opened, it had four times the endowment of the famous Whitney Museum in New York.
However, her passion for art is said to have started while she was young. As reported by Business Insider, at the age of 10, she bought her first work of art: a reproduction of a Picasso painting for $2. As a result of this passion that she chose to purse, she has not taken any active role in the running of Walmart unlike her brothers, Rob and Jim.
So far, African women have also proved to be of great value by being resourceful and enterprising. A result of this is part of what makes some of them merit Forbes list of richest people in the world. However, what has been of concern is the story behind the rise of the richest woman in Africa Isabel dos Santos. It continues to amaze a lot of people how Forbes, despite the alleged corrupt practice of her father while sitting as the president of Angola which was reported to be a part of what enriched her, would declare Isabel as the richest woman in Africa. Whatever the case, it doesn't change the fact that she is the richest woman in Africa and she continues to work hard to earn that position.