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Forbes Names Isabel dos Santos, Daughter of Angola’s President as Africa’s First Woman Billionaire | Has Another Woman taken Folorunsho Alakija’s Title?



US financial magazine, Forbes, has named Isabel dos Santos, eldest daughter of Angola’s president, as Africa’s first female billionaire. According to Forbes, the 40 year-old has pushed her net worth over the $1 billion mark. She has shares in several Portuguese firms, including a TV cable company, and an Angolan bank put her on the billionaires’ list.

Her first venture was a restaurant in Luanda called Miami Beach which she opened in 1997 at the age of 24, said the magazine that tracks the world’s rich.

This report is coming just weeks after Ventures Africa, another online financial magazine ranked Nigerian oil tycoon, Folorunsho Alakija as the World’s Richest Black Woman. According to Ventures Africa, she ousted Oprah Winfrey from the position with a worth of at least $3.3 billion. This piece of news created quite a buzz across the country and when it was published on BellaNaija late last year.

Forbes says Ms dos Santos is a relatively shy public figure despite her successful business career. She studied engineering at King’s College in London, where she lived with her mother, who is divorced from President dos Santos. She sits on the boards of several companies in Angola and Portugal and has been instrumental in making business decisions.

She has a 28.8% stake in Zon (worth a recent $385 million), a Portuguese media and is its largest shareholder, Forbes said. She also sits on the board of Angola’s Banco BIC and is reported to have a 25% share of the bank, (worth a conservative $160 million). Several sources knowledgeable about telecom in Angola told Forbes that she sits on the board of Unitel – one of the country’s two mobile phone networks – and is a 25% shareholder. That stake alone is worth $1 billion at a minimum.

So, who is Africa’s Richest woman?

In a report published in November 2012, Forbes described Alakija as Nigeria’s richest woman and said her net worth was $600 Million. But Ventures Africa countered that claim in December 2012 and said she was worth at least $3.3 Billion.

62 year-old Alakija made most of her wealth from oil exploration in Nigeria. She is reported to have a real estate portfolio worth over $100 million and owns a Bombardier Global Express 6000 which she bought last year for a reported $46 million. Her biggest break came in 1993 when Nigerian President Ibrahim Babangida awarded her company, Famfa Oil, an oil prospecting license which went on to become OML 127, one of Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks.

Guardian says that when Isabel dos Santos married a Congolese art collector in 2003, a choir was flown in from Belgium and two charter planes delivered food from France. African presidents were among 100 guests at the extravaganza, which cost an estimated $4m (£2.5m).

Evidently, both women are very successful business owners. But the conflicting reports creates room for debate. Who is Africa’s richest woman?

Adeola Adeyemo is a graduate of Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from University of Lagos. However, her passion is writing and she worked as a reporter with NEXT Newspaper. She believes that anything can be written about; anything can be a story depending on the angle it is seen from and the writer's imagination. When she is not writing news or feature articles, she slips into her fantasies and creates interesting fiction pieces. She blogs at


  1. abbey

    January 27, 2013 at 11:37 pm

    I will believe Forbes report! it is a no brainier not to.


    January 27, 2013 at 11:56 pm

    Well I don’t underestimate the Nigerian Business Tycoon. I believe Mrs. Alakija is.

  3. Duh

    January 28, 2013 at 12:46 am

    Forbes is THE most reputable source for wealth reporting and we can’t pick and choose when to believe the publication. If we believe Dangote is the richest man in Africa according to Forbes, how can we not believe them on their evaluation of Alakija’s wealth?

    Forbes has a reputation to protect and they stick by their ratings. Fuzzy math does not a billionaire make… the Nigerian publication should chill

    • Amazeballs!

      January 28, 2013 at 9:29 am

      You just echoed everything i was thinking! well said.

  4. AA

    January 28, 2013 at 12:51 am

    Am inspired.well done ladies,watch out for me by God’s grace.


    January 28, 2013 at 1:17 am

    who cares about the richest amongst them! they have both worked hard to be rich! and that’s good for them…my question is what have they done to better their community?

    • Ovadje

      January 28, 2013 at 10:34 am

      Sorry, but I seriously doubt that the daughter of an African president who has been in power since 1979 actually “worked hard to be rich”.

    • Monica

      January 31, 2013 at 8:29 am

      Agreed….I wish her and Mrs Alakija all the best with their business endevours but their stories are hardly ‘Rags to Riches’. Its about having connections and making the most of poor corporate governance and lack of transparency on the part of their respective countries. its no coincidence that both Angola and Nigeria sit nearer the top of global corruption charts.

  6. nems

    January 28, 2013 at 1:53 am

    Inspirational! Always great to read about women making great strides and doing great.


    January 28, 2013 at 3:52 am

    who cares! while there is so much poverty in the land.

    • N.V. Daramola

      January 30, 2013 at 3:52 pm

      Since when did the individual accumulation of wealth in the midst of poverty become a sin? Look around you, how many poor people do you see? Now, how many of them are ACTUALLY WORKING hard to break out of poverty? Ask MKO Abiola and Mike Adenuga how they broke the chains of poverty to ride on to wealth. I’m not saying the poor should remain poor. What I’m saying is: there are so many poor people who are way too content with being poor and only look forward to the day the Heavens will drop bags of gold in their backyards.

  8. Temitope Adewoye

    January 28, 2013 at 6:31 am

    [email protected] who is the richest women in Africa, well Forbes has being around before Ventures Africa so I would stick with Forbes,that aside though both women are hardworking,kudos to them.

    • Julius

      February 3, 2013 at 2:30 am

      Don’t get it twisted, Isabella Dos Santos is the daughter of a corrupt president who have ruled his country for over thirty years. That is pathetic! We Africans celebrate corrupt and selfish leaders who along with their family members loot their country’s economy and resources.

  9. lala

    January 28, 2013 at 7:10 am

    same money stolen from the masses.

    blood oil jor

    still happy to see African woman out there but we all know they didn’t sweat to get there.

  10. marie

    January 28, 2013 at 7:51 am

    don’t care!! in both countries pple keep diein 4r hunger and poorverty! so it’s nt really important to know who is richer!!!! just my point of view!

    • Naija Realist

      January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am

      And the fact that people are dying from hunger and poverty in both countries is their fault in exactly what way? Btw, is one of those countries not yours? Why are you busy posting on BN when your ppl are dying of hunger and poverty? SMDH @

    • Lani

      January 30, 2013 at 11:00 pm

      Eduardo dos Santos has been president of Angola since 1979 and now, decades later his daughter is the richest woman in Africa. Do you really believe that that hasn’t contributed to whatever economic problems the nation is facing? So how much is President Santos himself worth? He is probably the richest black alive!

    • Lani

      January 30, 2013 at 11:03 pm

      Continuation – He is probably the richest black man alive and we may never know.

  11. Berry Dakara

    January 28, 2013 at 9:48 am

    I’ll go with Forbes on this one.

  12. pade

    January 28, 2013 at 10:17 am

    Happy for them both but all is VANITY sha.

    • Gidi Baba

      January 30, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Spot ON Spot ON

    • jade

      January 31, 2013 at 1:27 pm

      Please why don’t you stop being jealous and appreciate the fact they made use of what they had. It still takes brains to earn profits when doing business. Vanity my ass

  13. Naija Realist

    January 28, 2013 at 10:40 am

    ….and what are YOU doing about that poverty?

    • lolo

      January 31, 2013 at 7:13 am

      chill out, why are you jumping up and down defending them, everyone has an opinion, i believe in social responsibility, if they are contributing their own peice den well done to them, i personally dont think they are doing enough but its still their money, life goes on. nothing to be inspired by;same story of connections and the rich getting richer

    • Naija Realist

      February 1, 2013 at 11:53 pm

      Social responsibility is not just for those at the top. Our societies are the product of our COLLECTIVE acts (either of commission or omission). The delusion that many Nigerians suffer is that we are somehow “better” than our leaders, when the truth is that we have all contributed to our faith in different ways and to varying degrees. So what have YOU done?!

  14. Editrix

    January 28, 2013 at 12:13 pm

    I can’t believe you guys put this news here. Why celebrate kleptocrats & their kids? What message are you sending to the world? That’s itsnokaynto steal & plunder your country dry and you’ll be celebrated. It doesn’t matter if she’s celebrated by Forbes. Her wealth is ill gotten and questionable. So because Forbes put her up, now you too (this includes mrs alakija as well)? I’m quite disappointed.

    Read and educate yourselves:

  15. Mama

    January 28, 2013 at 12:53 pm

    Mrs Alakija was NEVER the richest woman in Africa. It was all a publicity stunt that she pulled that has backfired. Forbes don expose her.
    She is too load abegi make we hear word!!

  16. adelegirl

    January 28, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks Editrix for providing the link. It creates a different perspective to Forbes’ report. I should say that though these women had some help in amassing their wealth (according to popular reports, Alakija was awarded the oil block which is reputed to be the source of her wealth,through her connections to former military dictator – Babangida and Dos Santos is the daughter of Angola’s “longtime president”, more like sit-tight president, which stands to reason that her father’s position helped some) making shrewd business decisions must have also been instrumental in the exponential growth of their wealth.

    Whilst we cannot all dig and confirm before we celebrate such people, it is important that we don’t just celebrate wealth just because. We know how Oprah became one of the richest women in the world and her philanthropy is legendary. It’s a shame that the same can’t quite be said about these ladies – Alakija and Dos Santos. After all, they are also in the public eye. I don’t expect them to give away all their wealth in the name of charity or feed all the world’s poor and eradicate poverty all at once, but it would be nice if we knew that their philanthropy somewhat matched their wealth. Then, they would truly be worthy of respect and emulation.

  17. tiredofnonsense

    January 28, 2013 at 1:59 pm

    Forbes is supposed to be reputable but this just goes to show its not a reliable source to identify legit business ppl….how can they add this lady who is a vehicle for laundering her father’s stolen wealth?? Even the Mrs Alakija…how can they recognise her wealth when its derived from one of the most corrupt dictator’s Africa has ever seen? This is disgraceful. Richest my -…if its based on stolen money and political largesse, they better start adding maryam abacha and her likes….Not impressed with Nonsense!

    • Bukky

      January 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

      Thank you!!!! Sometimes I wonder at this Bella Naija. The founder is a smart educated young girl. As someone from the younger generation, one would think she’d shed light on some of these corrupt people, but she constantly displays their ill gotten wealth!

  18. NNENNE

    January 29, 2013 at 2:20 am

    And the richest goes to…. All that toil night and day to make an honest living and put food on their table!

  19. pynk

    January 29, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    they all get exposed in time. Celebration of mediocrity or criminal behavior.

  20. Toyin

    January 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    I should be inspired by this but I’m not. One of the reasons, I admire Oprah is because she is a woman who came from nothing, worked hard to get to where she got to. I have no problem being born into wealth but when it comes to Africans, it’s nothing to be proud of. These are dictators who ruled their countries, stole money, accumulated money for their families while others are suffering and dying bcos of lack of basic necessities. However, I will believe Mrs Alakija a little better bcos she invested in real estate, oil and fashion and she’s not the wife or daughter of some corrupt president. But, the daughter of a corrupt ex president should not be on the list at all. There’s a reason ex presidents of Nigeria, for example Abacha or IBB are not on the list because these are corrupt leaders, criminals who stole money from the government but were never checked. Dangote, was never a president even though he’s tied to them but at least he has a business, production of rice and cement so his wealth is somewhat more believable. When I think of Africa/Nigeria, I’m utterly disgusted because so much resources gone to waste. And, the older generation of Nigerians have to be some of the most greedy, wicked, ignorant group of people on earth. My only hope is, there are “FEW” young Nigerians out there with good heart, using their common sense and are not following the footsteps of their parent and will want to make a difference.

  21. Tosin

    January 29, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    I don’t think the money you make should be allowed to go undiluted to the next and next and next generation. I don’t think the queen of england and the royal wedding kids should be rich just because…, and i suspect the same goes for this pretty Angolan lady. I think rich folk should either give a lot of it away or have it dissipated through taxes.

  22. Pikes

    January 29, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    They didn’t mention my name.what a blunder

  23. Rudeboy

    January 30, 2013 at 8:52 am

    You shameless people with misplaced priority are here sitting behind your computer talking shit…Kudos to those who spoke out against this…fcuk it! they are worth billions and spending it in what? Please can their daughter or son marry anyone from the saudi or english royal family? I very much doubt…They should focus on africa!

    • Sunshine

      February 21, 2013 at 2:26 am

      what r u talking about?

  24. [email protected]

    January 31, 2013 at 2:29 am

    Toyin point of correction, they said daughter of the President, not ex president so you can imagine,practically all her life her dad has been oppressing that nation.If they don’t put her on all d board, who would they dare to put and bye pass her if their heads won’t be required of them lol.

  25. Shungu

    February 1, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    I admire the ordinary African woman and man who is out there breaking a sweat just to put food on the table. Angola has sooo much wealth that the masses dont ever dream of enjoying, then some President’s daughter, whose family and the their elite connections control everything, is on some list for what????

  26. miqosblog

    February 2, 2013 at 4:26 am

    She has taken full advantage to power

  27. Mma

    February 3, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    That’s really interesting. Good to see that she made things happen, rather than silently spend her dad’s money.

  28. azertyme

    March 6, 2013 at 4:36 pm

    she’s the daughter of angolan president of course she sure has or had all the country resources put in her diposal to become however rich she can. i believe more on the 62 years old lady assets which i belive came from hard work and experience than the one coming from the daughter of an african president. bullshit

  29. silva do santos

    October 11, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    her father enjoy the power until he will die.that is why all his childrens will steal also. I am speaking about Angola

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