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How to lead by example

Isabelle dos Santos had to cancel her visit to Davos in recent days, we regretted it bitterly. Because this exemplary woman had a powerful message to carry as the herald of what is sometimes called "Afroptimism". During her participation as a speaker in the spring of 2018 at the Yale Conference for African Peace and Development, at one of the most renowned universities in the US, she had indeed stated about Africa that “to grow, we need a new economic model. We will have to move towards a new system; a system that allows us to accommodate the growth of the population, all by dissociating us from the limitations of resources, going to meet the basic needs of everyone. A fairer system that focuses on people and environmental sustainability”. Admirable, one can only adhere to this vision.

Since the revelations of the Luanda Leaks, delivered to a consortium of journalists by the hacker Rui Pinto, who has been vegetating for almost a year in the cell of a prison in Portugal, we know that Isabelle dos Santos, daughter of Jose Eduardo dos Santos who ruled Angola for 38 years, and wife of Sindika Dokolo, shady businessman and art collector, was at the center of a mechanism of public funds embezzlement which made her the richest woman on the continent. According to Forbes, her net worth is estimated to $ 2.1 billion. This system was denounced in these terms by the Angolan prosecutor in charge of the file who accused her "first of all of money laundering, trading in influence, harmful management… of falsification of documents, among other economic crimes». Thus, she was able to vacuum clean the Angola accounts and hide assets from the tax authorities through an army of Western financial companies, lawyers, accountants, civil servants and management companies. Much of this well earned money has been invested in Portugal, a former colonial power too happy during the recent economic crisis to see this windfall pour out over its ravaged economy. Aware of having worked with her for a better world, her Portuguese banker Nuno Ribeiro da Cunha eventually hanged himself in his garage a few days ago.

Meanwhile, it must be remembered that in Angola, a country dripping crude oil and the 3rd economy in Africa, 51% of the population lives below the poverty line, 29% is unemployed, and it shows an HDI that ranks it 158th in the countries of this sad world. May Isabel dos Santos and her clique inspire the political class of her country by virtue of the principles that she so much likes to state in public.


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