Isabel dos Santos is as much an outspoken women’s rights figure as she is a business leader. Her business achievements are so significant that they have placed her in position as one of the most respected business people in Africa and around the globe. She is the daughter of the former president of Angola, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. It is no doubt that her upbringing instilled in her strong work ethic and the will to achieve greatness.

Even at the height of her career, Isabel dos Santos dealt with discrimination and sexism. In a largely male-dominated society, she faced and overcame many challenges and prejudices. She states that her opinions were second-guessed in deals negotiations. However, this forced her to become increasingly creative in asserting her experience, skills, and value. These conditions only encouraged her to work harder and invest in pursuits of philanthropy that are paving the way for future generations of African businesswomen.

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Angola em diálogo e cooperação aqui na #CIIE sobre a exportação como uma área que pode transformar a economia angolana 🇦🇴. Com o Embaixador de Angola na China, João Salvador dos Santos Neto, e o Secretário de Estado das Pescas da República de Angola, Carlos Martinó Cordeiro. A confiança das outros países em Angola vai ser fundamental para captar investimento e termos uma verdadeira aposta na importação para esses países de produtos diversificados vindos de Angola. Hoje já exportamos a nossa Luandina para a China. Mas podemos crescer ainda mais. Imaginem os empregos que podemos criar, como podemos fazer crescer as nossas empresas, como podemos gerar valor… Esse é o caminho 💪🏾 #SharingbyIsabeldosSantos #Sodiba #CIIE #China #Angola #Lundina #ANossa #business #proudlyAngolan Angola united here at #CIIE, discussing export as an area that can transform the Angolan economy 🇦🇴. With the Angolan Ambassador to China, João Salvador dos Santos Neto, and the Secretary of State for Fisheries of the Republic of Angola, Carlos Martinó Cordeiro. The confidence of other countries in Angola will be fundamental to attract investment and to import diversified products from Angola to these countries. Today we already export our Luandina to China. But we can grow even more. Just imagine the jobs we can create, how we can make our companies grow, how we can create value … That’s the way to go 💪🏾

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Despite the discouraging prejudices at all levels of the African business world, Isabel dos Santos realized success. She is proof that it is possible for African women to become successful. Having people in her life who have supported her vision along her path has been invaluable. She supports causes that she believes in with her time and wealth, offering guidance to those with a passion for a career in business. She believes in the potential she sees in Africa noting opportunities that exist in the rich landscape and in the raw talent that exists there.

Her father has always been one of Isabel dos Santos’ strongest supporters. She has said that he treated her the same as her brothers, never instructing her to do the things that women traditionally do. She said as well that his motivation made her feel strong. There is a fear among many African parents in teaching their children to be bold and independent. Unlike some other women, Isabel was not raised to wait for a man to marry that would support her. She was raised with the understanding that perseverance through adversity and hard work is the way to make a name for yourself.