Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, is Africa’s first female billionaire. The 40-year-old beauty is a very skilled businesswoman. Her purchase of more shares of publicly traded companies in Portugal accompanied with her assets, have pushed her networth over $1 billion, according to research by FORBES.
The successful businesswoman started at age 24 with a restaurant in Angola named Miami Beach. Since then, she has sat on the boards of many companies in Angola and Portugal and has been instrumental in making business decisions. Her newfound billionaire status has many experts scratching their heads and asking “How did she do it?”
Although Peter Lewis, a professor of African Studies at Johns Hopkins University’s School for Advanced International Studies, did not review information about Dos Santos’ holding and admittedly doesn’t know the specifics of her wealth, he still attempted to answer the question because he is knowledgeable of how business operates in Angola. “It’s clear through documented work that the ruling party and the President’s inner circle have a lot of business interests. The source of funds and corporate governance are very murky,” Lewis explained. “The central problem in Angola is the complete lack of transparency. We can’t trace the provenance of these funds. He continued: ”When you tease out the ownership and controlling interests in Angola it reads like a Who’s Who of [the President’s] family members and party and military chiefs. They are fixing a few roads and there are some railways and there are a lot of cranes in Luanda. But they are awash in cash; $5 billion has been documented in illicit financial flows.”