At only 45 years old, Isabel dos Santos, an Angolan businesswoman, is the richest woman in Africa, having a net worth of more than $3 billions according to research done by Forbes – which also makes her the first billionaire woman to come out of Africa. In 2015, she was named by the BBC as one of 100 most influential women on the planet.
Isabel dos Santos is the eldest child of the former President of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who was in the position of power between 1979 and 2017. In a recent interview, she talked about her upbringing and how she maintains her strength moving forward. She points out that she realized late in life that her education has been rare for an African girl, and talks about how her father raised her the same way he did her brothers, and was not told to act a certain way because she was a woman. Her father persuaded her to follow a path to becoming a computer scientist or an astronaut when she was undecided about which university to apply to, but she ended up choosing to study engineering.
She states that the way she was raised built in her a spirit of independence, and that both her parents insisted that she had an education which focused on competitiveness as well as confidence. During the interview, Isabel dos Santos also gave a piece of advice to parents, pointing out that they should establish a sense of responsibility and confidence in their girls from a very early stage. She considers that girls should be taught how to fend for themselves and also how to rely only on themselves, and that they should be taught life skills.
She considers herself lucky to have received a top education, and notes that she feels privileged, which gives her a sense of duty to do more for other people and for her country. Isabel dos Santos also talked about the fact that Africa has been marketed in a poor way, the narrative being that the economy and business is not favorable. She believes Africa is need of better marketing when it comes to promoting success stories.