Isabel Dos Santos Serves As Ardent Proponent of Innovation in Africa
Isabel Dos Santos is known throughout Africa as a symbol of inspiration. She embodies the aspirations of millions of people; a dedicated leader, visionary, and philanthropist.
Throughout her life, Dos Santos has spearheaded initiatives to change the narrative, upend entrenched systems, and convert obstacles into opportunities. It began with her electrical engineering degree which she attained at Kings College in London. After returning to her home country of Angola, she set about her mission of transformative change.
At the forefront of Isabel’s strategic objectives are women empowerment and gender equality, the advancement of educational opportunities and skills training for all, infrastructure development across Angola, and the implementation of cutting-edge telecommunications technology. These ambitious undertakings have already seen the light of day, with multiple projects up and running, thanks to her indomitable spirit and partnerships with many influential multinational corporations. Among others, she was instrumental in the construction of the submarine fibre network between Angola and Brazil, strawberry plantations in the province of Huila, and the funding of a pediatric hospital, among others.
Transformative change in Africa is not without its challenges. Isabel has met with fierce resistance from a largely patriarchal business environment, coupled with archaic systems and frameworks. She has not been deterred by these challenges. Dos Santos is an ardent proponent of innovation in Africa, particularly her home country of Angola. She is a rich source of inspiration for entrepreneurs, and she believes deeply in empowering the next generation of Africa.
Now that she’s been re-elected to the board of Unitel she is able to implement her vision with precision and purpose. An active social media entrepreneur, Isabel Dos Santos is always upbeat, promoting African entrepreneurs with pride and enthusiasm. Her social entrepreneurship initiatives perfectly balance social responsibility and business objectives, and she has taken her message to the global community.
Foreign Direct Investment Needed in Africa
Dos Santos sits on the board of multiple corporations, including ZAP, CANDANDO and Unitel. Thanks to her strategic vision, thousands of Angolans are already employed by her companies. She advocates for women empowerment through her HR divisions, presenting qualified candidates with opportunities to ascend the rungs and assume leadership positions. These initiatives are enjoying growing support across the country, and the region. But much work remains to be done in Africa. To this end, Dos Santos has enlisted the help of global superpowers including Russia, China, and India.
At a recent International Economic Forum in St Petersburg, Russia, Dos Santos stressed the need for increased investment in the private sector in Africa. By building up Angola’s infrastructure, transportation and telecommunication networks, the country will be able to facilitate improved trade and economic opportunities around the world. Angola is desperately in need of waterways, power stations, and roadways, much of which can only be provided by FDI injections. As it stands, India has invested $80 billion in Africa, China has poured $120 billion into Africa, and Russia sits at $17 billion.
Bringing Big Players on Board to Build Africa’s Infrastructure
Dos Santos is hoping to reignite Russian interest in the African continent, much like the days when the former USSR was responsible for the construction of large-scale projects in the country. At the high-level meeting recently, discussions were held between African leaders and Russian officials, where it was agreed that substantial growth in Russian investment is possible. Nikita Gusakov of EXIAR stated that Russian exports to African nations could top out at $1 billion in 2019. Multiple projects are currently underway, and many sectors are benefiting, including fertilizer suppliers, food security, pipeline infrastructure, and railways.
The International Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg was attended by Chinese President Xi Jiping, and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Among the many challenges faced by African countries are substandard transportation routes. Isabel called for major infrastructure investment to build a new map of routes for internal trade to unleash Africa’s potential. She expressed optimism about sharing Africa’s vision and learning from other people’s perspectives. In recent years, economic partnerships between Russia and African nations have been improving. Many countries have been positively impacted, including Zimbabwe, Cameroon, Sudan, Ethiopia, and Angola.
Isabel Dos Santos expressed the need to work in a collaborative fashion to develop the continent through partnerships. In her words, “We have a continent with unparalleled potential; it’s time to act, for Africa.”