People & Power

Geo-politics, global, national and local influence. This section is dedicated to monitoring the role of the political class and influential citizens in shaping policies that affect the future of Africa.

Angolan President Joao Lourenco makes another power play move as he sacks Dos Santos son as head of sovereign wealth fund

Angolan President, Joao Lourenco has made another dramatic move against his predecessor, Jose Eduardo dos Santos by dismissing the former head of state son Jose Filomeno dos Santos from the head of the country’s $5 billion sovereign wealth fund.

This comes barely two months after the dismissal of Africa’s richest woman and daughter of Eduardo dos Santos, Isabel dos Santos as chair of the state oil company Sonangol and replacement of six other board members.

Isabel’s dismissal according to analysts is likely a ploy to cement Lourenco’s power and prevent a decline in production at the country’s biggest company, as it was under fire from international partners for delays in approving projects.

President Joao Lourenco in an announcement on Wednesday stated that he was replacing the board of fund based on an external inquiry into the fund’s administration and control.

Replacing Jose Filomeno dos Santos as the new board chairman is Carlos Alberto Lopes, a former finance minister who was one of the most discreet ministers inside former President dos Santos’s government.

As a trained accountant who has written several books on Angola’s economy, Lopes also  served as deputy planning minister where he was partly responsible for setting up the yearly budget plan and took part in annual meetings with the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.

The president, who took office in September seem to be taking measures in ensuring his predecessor has limited control of key areas of the state by disarming influential individuals allied with the former president.

This yet another power play move made by the Angolan President Joao Lourenco, against his long-serving predecessor Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

Things you should know about Jose Filomeno dos Santos

Jose Filomeno dos Santos, aka Zenu spent time in tour of China petroleum infrastructures in 2005 and served as the CEO of the China Petrotechnical Corporation register in Hong Kong partner of SINOPEC Corp (China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation).

Jose Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos served as the Chairman of Fundo Soberano de Angola, the oil-rich nation’s nascent $5bn sovereign wealth fund, as he was appointed to the board in 2012 where he succeeded Armando Manuel as Chairman in June 2013.

Jose Filomeno’s appointment as chairman was criticized as it had raised concerns about nepotism as he is the son of the former President of Angola and Angola had just joined other African oil-producers, including Nigeria and Ghana, in establishing a fund for future generations.

His father, José Eduardo dos Santos, had been in power for nearly three decades, giving members of his family access to be part of an influential business elite operating in a resource-rich country that has been one of Africa’s stars in recent years because of its high growth rates and its ability to attract foreign investment, despite being shattered by poverty, corruption and yawning social disparities.

Before his appointment to the sovereign wealth fund, Dos Santos was a former board member of Banco Kwanza Invest, an Angolan investment bank where he left due to potential conflict of interest.

He had  previously worked across various industries including trading, insurance and finance and held positions at Glencore, the commodities group, and Angolan institutions; an experience which was attributed to a scholarship through Sonangol – Angola’s state oil company that lasted three to six months in the late 1990s.

In August 2013, dos Santos was ranked at number 26 out of the top 100 wealth fund chiefs in the world by the Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute in its annual measurement process.