Isabel dos Santos, the President of Angola’s daughter, who is also known as the richest woman in Africa, has taken control of Angola’s largest bank Banco de Fomento Angola (BFA).
The controlling stake was bought from a Portuguese bank by Angola’s largest phone operator Unitel which is run by Ms dos Santos. She already runs the state oil company.
Portugal’s BPI bank ceded control of the bank following months of pressure from the European Central bank, which said BPI’s exposure to Angolan government debt was too risky under new European banking laws.
Ms dos Santos also owns a large stake in BPI. She is seen as being more likely to support a takeover bid by another BPI shareholder, Spain’s CaixaBank, following the sale of the controlling stake in BFA to Unitel.
The result is that Africa’s richest woman is now reported to have taken control of another key piece of Angola’s economy.
Isabel dos Santos is 43, ambitious, successful and unusual in a region where men still rule most boardrooms.
But Mrs dos Santos is also the oldest daughter of Angola’s President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, a man who has run the country since 1979.
Angola is one of the world’s least developed nations. In recent years it has benefited from an oil boom and Chinese investment. But corruption and poverty remain huge challenges.
Mrs dos Santos already controls Angola’s state oil company, and it’s largest telephone company. Now, with those extra shares, she’s added the country’s largest bank – BFA. The family’s dominant role in the country seems likely to endure.