Influential Women Today: Isabel dos Santos

Isabel dos Santos is a businesswoman who hails from Angola, Africa. She is the eldest daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos as well as the richest woman in Africa, with her net worth estimated at $3 billion US dollars in 2013, estimated by Forbes magazine making dos Santos the first billionaire African woman. BBC also put Isabel dos Santos on the list of the 100 most influential women in the world.

Isabel dos Santos’ story begins with her education. First, the young dos Santos attended Cobham Hall, a boarding school for girls in Kent. She later studied electrical engineering at King’s College in London, where she would also later meet her future husband Sindika Dokolo. After school, Isabel dos Santos would hold multiple management positions for companies before going home to work with her father as project manager engineer for Urbana 2000 a subsidiary of Jembas group that had won the contract to disinfect and clean the city.

Isabel do Santos is an incredibly successful manager and engineer, but she only became a billionaire after showing she also had incredible instinct for buying and selling shares. Isabel dos Santos owns many shares in many companies, but has shown keen interest in the industries of telecommunications, retail, finance, media as well as the energy industry. In terms of countries, dos Santos focuses on her own homeland of Angola, as well as focusing much of her assets in Portugal. One of her most significant single investments, however, is the Spanish media company know as ZON Multimedia,a subdivision of Telefonica, also located in Spain. Isabel dos Santos is the majority stock holder for the company, owning over a third of total shares by herself, thanks in large part to danish investment firm Unitel International Holdings BV, of whom dos Santos is the owner. This firm, along with Jadeium, also owned by dos Santos, hold a combined 34% of the company, giving dos Santos significant influence over the company.

This is just one example of how Isabel dos Santos has made her mark on the world and shows that she earned her position amongst the most influential women of our modern time.