Angolan president’s powerful daughter takes over largest bank

Courtesy of African News

London, UK – Isabel dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has reportedly taken over the country’s largest bank, Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA).

Isabel, who heads the country’s oil firm Sonangol, is reputed to be the wealthiest woman on the continent. Forbes reports that she had nearly 19% of Banco BPI shares, Portugals’s fourth-largest bank.

BBC reports that BFA’s controlling stake was bought from a Portuguese bank by Angola’s largest phone operator Unitel which is run by Ms dos Santos. As at today, she is listed as one of two Vice-President of the bank’s board of directors.

Portuguese bank, BPI, accepted to relinquish its stake in the bank because of pressure from the European Central bank. Per the ECB, BPI’s exposure to Angolan government debt was too risky under new European banking laws.

Forbes pegs her current worth at $3.2 billion largely made from investments. In Angola’s former colony, Portugal, she owns a nearly 7% chunk of oil and gas firm Galp Energia (alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim).

‘‘She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon). In June 2015, media reported that she spent slightly more than $200 million to buy a stake in Portuguese electric power equipment firm Efacec Power Solutions,’ ‘Forbes said.

Angolan lawyers have filed an appeal in the Constitutional Court after the President’s billionaire daughter was cleared to take office as the head of the country’s national oil company.

The Supreme Court last month rejected an application by 12 human rights lawyers to have Isabel dos Santos removed as the head of Sonangol, which handles the oil and gas reserves of Africa’s largest oil exporter.

The lawyers, who have accused President Jose Eduardo dos Santos of nepotism, first filed a case rejecting the appointment at the Supreme court before it was over ruled on December 27.

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Michael Harrington

Michael Harrington is a researcher and senior contributing reporter with Globe Afrique Media.

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