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DOS SANTOS JUNIOR: ABILITY NOT NEPOTISM MAKES ME RIGHT FOR ANGOLA FUND JOB

Dossantos

Jose Filomeno Dos Santos is an African professional and the Chairman of the board of directors of Angola's Fundo Soberano De Angola (FSDEA), a sovereign wealth fund mandated with investing over USD5 Billion from the country's vast oil revenues into projects for the benefit of Angolan citizens. He is the son of Angola's president who has ruled the mineral rich country since Jose Filomeno, now thirty-five, was an infant.

 

The fund was established in October 2012, borrowing a leaf from other African countries including Nigeria and Ghana. Its inaugural board comprised only three members; Jose Filomeno and two other individuals who critics have said have strong political ties to the president.

In a rare television interview, Jose Filomeno once again reiterated that it was wrong to focus on the fact that he is the president's son when examining the discharge of his mandate.

"We are making an institution which is new that adheres to best international practices," he told Howard Johnson of the BBC. "We are in line with other sovereign funds and have been in constant dialogue with several other authorities in the country. Our investment policy draws us to report to parliament once a year and our accounts are audited once a year. The results should speak for themselves and there is no conflict of interest. I am an Angolan and I am committed to this position professionally and as a citizen that wants to see his country develop."

But critics maintain that Jose Filomeno's appointment is tailored to position him to succeed his father as president and to also "keep the wealth in the family". This was the view of an article by that title published in mid-2013 by the Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa.

Jose Filomeno's older half-sister Isabel is reportedly worth USD 3 Billion and was once considered by Forbes to be Africa's richest woman. The British newspaper Financial Times wrote, in March 2013, that "even some critics acknowledge Isabel dos Santos's independent prowess as a businesswoman". In the same interview, Isabel dos Santos says she does business and she is not a politician.

Jose Filomeno similarly punts his own credentials.

"I've always worked in the financial industry, this is what I've always done," he told How We Made It In Africa. "I've been in insurance, in banking and in trading, now I'm in an investment entity of the state and I will continue to do my job, as I have always done. Obviously following up the mandate that was given which is to invest in the growth of the country and improving the lives of the people of the country. So I hope to be audited on that and not on the fact that I am the son of the president."

The fund leadership has indicated that it will invest in infrastructure, agriculture, hospitality and other industries away from the oil sector. It has however been criticised for its performance since formation in 2012 including its reported purchase of "trophy" offices in London's exclusive Saville Row for GBP 220 million.

Website: www.fundosoberano.ao

Image: bbc.co.uk

 

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