When Isabel dos Santos was growing up, her dad was the president of Angola. While she grew up in that country she was educated in the United Kingdom. She attended an all-girls private school and then studied engineering at King’s College in London. This gave her an understanding of how business works outside of Angola. She is now a forward-thinking entrepreneur who has established companies in Angola, Portugal, and elsewhere.
She is one of just 11 people who are black and billionaires. This has given her a global platform to speak out on issues such as gender inequality and the lack of access to education in Africa. She is very impactful in Angola, supporting scholarships for young people looking to build the skills they need to get jobs.
Isabel dos Santos is a vocal supporter of the African Continental Free Trade Area (ACFTA). This is an agreement between 55 countries to increase trade between them. It was ratified in July 2019 and is the largest trading bloc to be agreed to since 1994. Along with increasing trade across the continent, ACFTA will spread best business practices, increase the sharing of information, and lead to better supply chains. Read more about Isabel Dos Santos at angonoticias.com
She says that the strength of Africa lies in its people. Isabel dos Santos says that if African people get access to the tools they need to compete they will thrive. These tools include internet connections, education, technology, and online banking. In her country, for instance, only 10% of people have a bank account. They aren’t able to start businesses because they have no realistic way of saving and storing money.
She leads Unitel, a telecommunications firm she started several years ago. Her company is upgrading its communications infrastructure across Angola. Areas that were disenfranchised now have internet connectivity. Between Unitel and her other companies, Isabel dos Santos directly created over 50,000 jobs.
The goal is to have a national data network that is equal to that of Western countries. She says that up-to-date technology is crucial if Angola and other African nations are to take full advantage of ACFTA.