13 December 2013

Angola: Isabel Dos Santos Pockets Forbes


U.S.-based business publisher Forbes has formed a partnership with a company controlled by Isabel dos Santos, daughter of the Angolan President, to publish a new magazine edition for Portuguese-speaking African countries.

Forbes Portuguese Africa will be a joint venture with ZAP, a company in which Ms. Dos Santos has a 70 percent shareholding. Last August, Forbes published information revealing that the President's daughter had acquired almost her entire Angolan fortune through corrupt means.

The announcement comes almost a year after Forbes included Ms. Dos Santos on its list of Africa's wealthiest people. It assessed her wealth at U.S. $3 billion, making her the richest woman on the African continent.

The inclusion of Ms. Dos Santos on the list attracted criticism that Forbes was glorifying a woman who owed her fortune to the political influence of her father, President José Eduardo dos Santos.

In response to that criticism, in August, Forbes published an article co-authored by Angolan journalist Rafael Marques de Morais, which investigated the origins of Ms. Dos Santos's fortune.

In that article, Forbes revealed that "as best as we can trace, every major Angolan investment held by [Isabel] dos Santos stems either from taking a chunk of a company that wants to do business in the country or from a stroke of the president's pen that cut her into the action."

The investigation provoked an angry reaction from the associates of the Dos Santos family. Angolan media loyal to the President published unfounded allegations that a daughter of the late Angolan rebel leader, Jonas Savimbi, had interests in Forbes.

The new bi-monthly magazine, Forbes Portuguese Africa, will be launched in the second quarter of 2014 and will be distributed in Angola, Portugal, Mozambique, Cape Verde, São Tomé e Príncipe and Guinea Bissau.

According to a press release from Forbes, the majority of the content of the new magazine will be locally generated, and will be complemented by material from Forbes U.S. translated into Portuguese.

The ZAP brand was launched in 2010 with ZAP Television, to provide satellite television entertainment to Angola and other Portuguese-speaking countries in Africa.

At ZAP's launch, it was announced that Isabel dos Santos held 70 percent of the shares, and the Portuguese telecommunications company ZON held the remaining 30 percent.

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