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Squeezing Dos Santos Out of Angola’s SOEs

Angolan billionaire Isabel dos Santos will leave her job in the administration of telecoms operator Unitel amid ongoing tensions between board members. “After 20 years dedicated to the creation, development and success of Unitel, I chose to leave the position of member of the company’s board of directors,” dos Santos, who holds a 25% stake in Unitel, said in a statement cited by media reports. Dos Santos’ decision to leave her position at Unitel, which dominates Angola’s telecoms market, is related to a “climate of permanent conflict” among the company’s board of directors, she said in the same statement. Dos Santos, who has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing in a series of allegations, has suffered a fall from grace since her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, was replaced by President Joao Lourenco in September in 2017 after 38 years in power. The businesswoman, who is embroiled in a huge financial scandal, amassed a fortune estimated at more than $2 billion through stakes in various companies, including Unitel, which has Angola’s state oil company Sonangol as a majority shareholder. In December 2019, Angola froze the assets of dos Santos, including stakes she held in Angolan firms including Unitel, BFA and ZAP MIDIA.