Interviews .

Reuters .

By Isabel dos Santos .

My passion, my mission is to be an entrepreneur

Reuters – A lot of people wonder and would love to have the opportunity to ask you: you clearly are a very successful entrepreneur. It is also true that you are the daughter of the most important leaders of a very important petrostate. How do you square that?

Isabel dos Santos – There is a clear message that I want to leave which is: one thing is your family life, the people who raised you, that give you values, that educate you, that make sure that you go to school. And when you are at school encourage you to be excellent. And these people form who you are. As parents we can really form the person but once that person becomes an adult and the choices they make in their lives is really much up to them. I know great parents whose children have not made the right choices and parents who weren’t that good and the children are doing terribly well. So my parents formed who I am as a person but my professional choices and the risks I have taken and the businesses I have built and create were done by my own vision and by my own will.

My passion, my mission is to be an entrepreneur. I love to build things, to wake up in the morning and have ideas and to form a team that challenges me. I love to build things and at the end of the day I truly believe that there are numerous ways to solve Africa’s issues: by creating jobs, opportunities and businesses is so good and as important as politics.

In terms of opportunities Angola has a lot of natural resources and those are undoubtedly an opportunity. But what we can really value is the fact that over the last 15 years there has been an extensive investment in infrastructure. So currently we have a good road network, we have operating ports and international airports and a very high-end telecommunication network. So really today in terms of business environment, I think Angola is a great country to look at. When we look at the Angolan history we were a country that just 15 years ago we were still in war and a lot has been achieve since we had peace. But I would like to go a little back to the war days. Angola was a country with probably one of the worst armed conflicts in the world. Then we achieve to have peace and we became a peaceful nation. We went from war to peace overnight. And after the peace came there was no more conflict, no issues of safety. We could travel, invest, people rebuilt their lives, we started having new home owners, new businesses, children going to school – and all that normality… we should not take that for granted.

When I look at what has been built in Angola I have to say, as an Angolan, I feel very proud. I’m proud because today we have more than 10 million children in education, whether primary, secondary, university education or any other kind of training. We have more universities than ever before. We have built more hospitals, more clinics than ever before. We have a functioning road network. You can take your car and travel Angola from north to south and east to west.
We have developed ports, we have modern airports, we are able to receive planes from all over the world. so, we really have done a lot of investments in infrastructure and I believe this infrastructure is also translating into growth and business.

Just recently in 2006 or 2007 Angola was one of the fastest growing economies in the world, so you mustn’t forget that. You cannot become the fastest growing economy in the world if there is no confidence and Angola built a great deal of confidence.