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Angolan president appoints daughter as head of state oil company Sonangol

By on June 3, 2016

Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos has appointed his daughter as head of state oil firm Sonangol, Angola National State Radio (RNA) reported on Thursday.

RNA said Isabel dos Santos would head the company, after the president fired the entire Sonangol board in April and appointed a new one.

Sonangol said in February that debt owed to foreign oil companies had soared and it expected a very difficult year.

Ms Santos has large stakes in many of Angola’s strategic industries, including diamonds, banking, media and telecommunications, with large parts of her business empire based in Portugal. She owns 7% of the Portuguese oil and gas company Galp Energia.

Angola, a member of OPEC, is currently Africa’s largest oil producer because of militant attacks and other problems that have cut output in Nigeria. The central African state is also rich in diamonds, which fuelled a 27-year civil war in the country.

Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979 and is one of Africa’s longest-ruling leaders, (after Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo) said in March he intended to step down as president in 2018 but gave no reason for his decision and did not name a preferred successor.

Critics accuse President dos Santos, who has ruled since 1979, of being increasingly authoritarian.

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