Isabel dos Santos

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Isabel dos Santos (cropped) in 2019

Isabel dos Santos  is an Angolan businesswoman, Africa's richest woman and the eldest child of Angola's former President José Eduardo dos Santos, who ruled the country from 1979 to 2017.


  • I think there's lots of people with family connections but who are actually nowhere. If you're hard-working and determined, you will make it, and that's the bottom line. I don't believe in an easy way through.
  • “If you do something that’s going to get somebody a job, then they’ll be able to pay for their kids school, and then the kid is going to be a doctor and then that doctor is going to probably help who knows how many other people, so it’s very motivating. Much more fun than going to the beach.”[1]
  • ‘Creating opportunities and employment for women means betting on the progress of the communities themselves. When they thrive, women invest their income in the family, health, and education. I value this as a sense of duty, commitment, and dedication. The impact that women create around them is powerful and transformative’[2]
  • Leverage your pre-existing talents and knowledge. If you’re going into a field that you know or have past experience with then you have a competitive edge. [3]
  • I believe that goals are achieved when ambition is combined with skill and determination. [4]
  • Be willing to assess yourself and determine exactly what it is that you’re capable of doing best. If you have weaknesses in certain areas, develop them into strengths.[5]
  • ‘I believe in talent and, every day, I bet on empowering the next generation of leaders. Because the development of Africa and my country is my priority as an Angolan businesswoman.’[6]
  • “I’ve been managing companies for a long time, starting them from small, building them up, going through every single stage of what it takes for a company to be successful,”[7]
  • “My holdings are commercial,”[8]
  • “There are no proceeds from contracts or public contracts, or money that has been deviated from public funds.”[9]
  • “This investment generated a large amount of return for all the parties that invested jointly,”[10]
  • ”There are no wrongdoings.”[11]
  • “What we really want to see is people living in African cities to go from living in dwellings to living in homes,”[12]
  • “We have taken upon ourselves to build these banks.”[13]
  • “There’s nothing in the report that mentions me,”[14]
  • “advisers that had worked with me in the past and that I trusted.”[15]
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