Angolan Businesswoman Isabel dos Santos Speaks on Africa’s Future

Recently, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos gave two major speeches in which she described her vision for Africa’s future. At Yale University, she spoke on developing a new economic model for the continent. More recently, members of the European Parliament along with attendees of Africa Summit 2019 listened to her remarks on Africa’s coming digital revolution.

In 2018, Dos Santos was the keynote speaker at the annual Yale Conference for African Peace and Development. According to dos Santos, Africa has the world’s largest concentration of young people. Such massive population growth presents challenges in the areas of education and job creation. To address Africa’s population growth, Isabel dos Santos says that Africa needs a new economic paradigm, which she calls “the New Africa Story.”

Proper treatment of the environment is part of the economic model that Isabel dos Santos envisions. She says that Africa needs “clean water, clean energy, clean soil, and clean air.” However, establishing local markets for small and medium-sized producers is central to her new model. She believes changing one person’s life at a time is key to Africa’s transformation.

Isabel dos Santos addressed European Parliament and Africa Summit 2019 delegates in January 2019. She was as a member of a panel on “Africa and Emerging Technology”, which is her area of expertise as chairwoman of Unitel, a mobile service provider. Since Africa has already experienced a mobile revolution, dos Santos believes a digital revolution is in the continent’s future. She believes that e-commerce transactions will outnumber brick-and-mortar ones and that Africans will embrace digital banking.

The businesswoman said companies can participate in Africa’s digital future. As an example, she pointed to Unitel’s collaboration with Google to have an underwater fiber-optic cable to connect Africa, Brazil, and America. She also reiterated some themes from her Yale speech, such as the challenges of rapid population growth, the need for good education, and sustainable management of the environment.


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