Saturday, January 26, 2013

The Princess of Angola

Eldest daughter of Angola's president Isabel dos Santos, dubbed 'princess', has been named Africa's first female billionaire. President José Eduardo dos Santos, the continent's second longest-serving leader at 33 years and an autocrat accused of enriching his family at the expense of ordinary Angolans. Forbes found that Isabel dos Santos's shares in several Portuguese firms, including a cable television company and an Angolan bank. According to Forbes, Dos Santos is the biggest shareholder in Zon, a Portuguese media conglomerate, with 28.8% of the stock, worth $385m; she also owns 19.5% of the Portuguese bank Banco BPI, worth $465m; and 25% of Angola's Banco BIC, worth an estimated $160m. In addition, she is said to be a 25% shareholder in the Angolan telecoms company Unitel. Most of her businesses in Angola are approved and transferred by her father. The investments in Portugal, De Morais added, were made first by the state firm Sonangol, which manages Angola's oil and gas reserves, with Dos Santos receiving shares. Dos Santos married Sindika Dokolo, Congolese art collector the son of the tycoon Sanu Dokolo, founder of Bank of Kinshasa. The couple, who have three children, divide their time between Luanda, London, Lisbon and Johannesburg,

When someone shows up with a billion dollars you have to ask what is the origin of the wealth? This is not explained. Peter Lewis, an African studies professor at Johns Hopkins University in the US, told Forbes: "The source of funds and corporate governance are very murky. When you tease out the ownership and controlling interests in Angola it reads like a Who's Who of family members and party and military chiefs."

The anti-corruption organisation Transparency International recently ranked Angola 168th out of 178 countries in its corruption perception index.


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