Isabel Dos Santos on Working for Angola’s Economy

Discussions about the economy tend to spend too much time looking at the buying power of a currency and the fate of large businesses. Little room is left to discuss the impact on ordinary people. this remains true for discussions about financial hubs like New York and developing countries like Angola. Business magnate Isabel dos Santos sees that disconnect, and it’s driving her business mission in her home country. When cable news discusses macroeconomics, its often at the peril of microeconomics. That means that too many of us are oblivious about the influence a new business can have on a single person. The potential for wage growth, for example, can be directly influenced by businesses within the community succeeding or failing.

One way Isabel dos Santos has changed the way business is done in Angola is to get more women into the workforce. This means opening up the doors of businesses to women who are overlooked by competitors and giving them leadership positions. This has two major affects: giving young women inspiration to pursue their own business professional passion and to have a social impact on women’s behalf. When more people are involved, the economy grows. Isabel dos Santos sees the economy as a group effort to make more, provide more services. In recent years, Angolan businesses that have limited women in their managerial roles have found it difficult to grow in the current climate. A business can have a solid plan on paper, but without good infrastructure it may never go forward.

Several countries in Africa have problems with their infrastructure that can keep necessary goods away from the people who need it. Distribution suffers, and that impacts people’s quality of life. Infrastructure goes beyond roads and to communications. Her business acumen is perhaps best known in Angola for Unitel. Her telecommunications company provides mobile services to both cities and in the country. That’s helped along with fiber optic cables Unitel installed, helping along the development of internet access there. About Isabel dos Santos studied at King’s College, and with a degree in electrical engineering, she became interested in technology and its potential for change. She often cites the electrical car in her talks, pointing to its influence on the economy. It means new retailers, manufacturing plants, and service locations tailored for those cars. With technology, the economy can grow and so can people.


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