Dos Santos clings on…for now

30 April 2019

Isabel dos Santos, known to the media as Africa’s richest woman, has been re-elected to the board of Angolan telecom giant Unitel.

The decision came after speculation that dos Santos could have been cast aside in a shareholder dispute at the company that dominates Angola’s telecoms market.

The daughter of former Angola president José Eduardo dos Santos, she owns a 25 per cent stake in the business. Brazilian telecom company Oi, Angolan state oil company Sonangol and Angolan businessman and former government official Leopoldino do Nascimento also have an equal share.

The three co-owners previously always voted as a block, but Sonangol recently indicated that it was looking to sell its stake and wanted to reduce the influence of dos Santos in the process.

Dos Santos went through a turbulent period after her father was replaced by president Joao Lourenco in September 2017.

The latter has since moved to push aside powerful figures associated with his predecessor and fired Isabel dos Santos as chairwoman at Sonangol. It is uncertain whether she will hang on as Unitel chairwoman when the board convenes for its first meeting, which is scheduled for May 6th.