LUANDA – Isabel dos Santos, the billionaire daughter of President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, pledged a root and branch overhaul of state energy firm Sonangol on Monday to improve its efficiency and margins to offset the “huge” impact of depressed oil prices.
A presidential decree carried on Angolan state media last week said Isabel dos Santos, ranked as Africa’s richest woman by Forbes magazine, would become chief executive after the firing of Sonangol’s board.
After being sworn in as chief executive on Monday, dos Santos told reporters she was looking to split Sonangol into three units overseeing operations, logistics and concessions to international oil companies.
The 43-year-old businesswoman, who is a major investor in various Angolan and Portuguese telecoms, banking, media and energy companies, also pledged to improve transparency at Sonangol, the central pillar of sub-Saharan Africa’s third biggest economy.
With militants causing serious production outages in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, Angola is currently Africa’s biggest oil producer.
“Our objective is to increase the revenue, efficiency and transparency of the company,” dos Santos said. “We want to implement governance rules similar to the international standards.”
Angola, which relies on oil exports for 95 percent of its foreign exchange, is often cited by anti-bribery campaigners as one of the world’s most corrupt countries. President dos Santos’s administration says it has a “zero tolerance” approach to graft.
Isabel dos Santos also said on Monday she was looking into the possibility of developing a domestic oil refinery to reduce Angola’s need to import nearly all its diesel and gasoline.(Reuters)