Exceeding the likes of media mogul Oprah Winfrey and oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, Isabel dos Santos is the richest black woman in the world.
With a net worth of over £2.2 billion, the 43 year-old investor and daughter of Angolan President, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is the first African woman to become a billionaire.
Dos Santos’ remarkable wealth is due to her vast array of investments. Her assets in Angola include a 25% share 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, and nearly 19% of Banco BPI, the country’s fourth-largest bank. She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS.
Dos Santos is married with 3 children and previously studied Engineering at Kings College, London. After graduating, she started her first business at the age of 24, a restaurant called Miami Beach.
Recently, dos Santos has come under the spotlight regarding her chief position at the state energy firm, Sonangol. Rafael Marques, an Angolan human rights activist, has accused President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of acting unconstitutionally by appointing his daughter to run the state energy firm after the surprise dismissal of its previous board.
Marques has made several requests for dos Santos’ position to be revoked by stating “the President [is using] his decrees to award state contracts to his family”.
Dos Santos has dismissed suggestions it was her family connections, rather than business acumen, that led to her appointment of the Sonangol board.
Dos Santos has said “if you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through”.