TechInAfrica – How many of you know Isabel dos Santos from Angola? Compared to Aliko Dangote, the richest man from Nigeria, the name Isabel dos Santos may sound less familiar. She is Angolan businesswoman and the eldest child of Angola’s former president, José Eduardo dos Santos (1979 – 2017).
Forbes reported in 2013 that her net worth reached over US$3 billion, making her as the first billionaire woman in Africa. Even after five years since then, her wealth keeps on growing. It is not easy for her to be a businesswoman, especially in the male-dominated business in Africa.
On an interview, Isabel explained that his father treated her the same as her brothers, in terms of education and every day’s life. She received equal treatments, never did she hear her father said she couldn’t do this and that due to her gender. When she was just 18, her father persuaded her to become an astronaut or a computer scientist, professions which considered rare for African girls.
She then decided to take Engineering in University. At the time, there were only two girls in her class—her and another Chinese girl.
She was taught to live her life not depending on men, whether it’s her father, brothers, or even husband. How her parents raised her has built a strong spirit of independence in her. She was raised to be confident as well as competitive, especially in education.
Isabel is married to an opened-minded African man where she claimed never once feel threatened by her successful career. His husband allows her to be dedicated to her work. According to Isabel, his husband has been very supportive of her career which also brings success to her career. He takes care of their four children when she is absent, especially when she goes on overseas business trips.
She gave her advice to parents to build confidence and responsibility in their girls since early. It’s important to teach them to rely on themselves more rather than to men. Moreover, also teach girls life skills, such as how to manage her finance, salary, and investment considerately. More importantly, treat girls and boys equally with the true role in society.