Isabel Dos Santos, the 40-year-old daughter of Angola's president, has become the first woman billionaire in Africa, according to Forbes magazine
The eldest daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, the young billionaire sits on the boards of several European and African companies and has a major stake in both a Portuguese and an Angolan bank. She is also invested in several media companies.
It is unclear how Dos Santos, who has owned a restaurant since 1997 and studied engineering at King’s College in London, acquired her wealth.
Peter Lewis, a professor of African Studies at Johns Hopkins University, surmised that much of Dos Santos' wealth likely stems from her family's close ties to the nation's business community, which he claims is not transparent. However, he admitted to not knowing specifics.
"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 told Forbes.
"The central problem in Angola is the complete lack of transparency," he added. "We can’t trace the provenance of these funds. 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."
Reacting to Lewis' comments, a Dos Santos spokesperson described the professor's remarks as speculative, unreasonable, and meritless. The spokesperson, who would not confirm Dos Santos' net worth, insisted that all her investments with publicly-listed companies were transparent under European law.
Located on South Africa's western coast, Angola is known for its extensive oil and diamond reserves. The nation is approximately twice the size of Texas and has an approximate population of 18 million people.
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