Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Zambian’s new mobile phone network company is linked to Africa’s richest woman


Isabel Dos Santos
Isabel Dos Santos

Zambia awarded licenses to start a fourth mobile-network operator to a company part-owned by Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president whose influence is waning in her home country.

Unitel International Holdings BV, in which Dos Santos owns a 25 percent stake, pledged to invest more than $350 million through a local unit to be called UZI Zambia Mobile Limited.

Her expansion into Zambia comes less than four months after new Angola President Joao Lourenco announced an auction for a new operator in the oil-rich African nation, challenging Unitel in its home market.

Dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman, was stripped of her role as chairwoman of Angola’s state-oil company last year as Lourenco sought to reduce the influence of the family of predecessor Eduardo Dos Santos, who he succeeded in September elections.

Isabel this month denied wrongdoing related to a transfer of $38.2 million from the oil company, Sonangol, following allegations by its chairman, Carlos Saturnino.

Two companies including Unitel expressed an interest in the licenses, the Zambia Information & Communications Technology Authority said in a statement Monday.

During the first half of 2017, active mobile-phone subscriptions in Zambia increased by 3.4 percent to 12.4 million, according to the finance ministry, compared with a population of about 16.5 million


  1. As long as the company or Isabel Dos Santos adds to the competition in Zambia, steers clears of collusive practises and does not influence negatively PF-corrupt practices, there is nothing wrong. The consumers win. What definately most Zambians will not tolerate is a new company that gets into the pocket of a clueless, incompetent and vision-less corrupt leader and party to tilt the governance processes to bulge the company’s bottom line. That would be a redline in terms of democracy and good governance. That said, Goodluck, Isabel. And as a side note, you are stunning by the way!

    • It is very possible it is linked to the crew under ECL too. Because this woman is not just rich because of hard work but through connections in Angola. The Father is Santos the president who has ruled with an iron fist as dictator.

    • This development connects the dots. It explains why someone has been on too many secretive international trips. Seldom seen only to hear he has been frequenting Angola, Rwanda and Kenya in the last 2 years. Too introvert and disinterested in any community or social meet-up regardless. So its been in a spirit of protecting these illicit deal making errands for Chagwa and Dos Santos crooks. How could sharp intellectuals with polished credentials of international standing sign-up to help criminals launder their dirty money in our country? Unitel is struggling in Angola, how can it address the QoS issues in Zambia?

      Dr. Haabazoka is right, “You Educated people have failed Zambia big time”.

    • We only see corruption and bloody money in our fellow Africans…this is exactly what white people want…corruption and bloody money is everywhere…if the company was linked to the corrupt slave masters then that could have been ok..@Nubian Princess just continue with your job(kupipa bazungu) and Western Union every Friday or else your siblings will starve to death.

      Do Santos is very much welcome to invest in Zambia.

    • @Nubian Princess
      The more time you spend on LT the more poorer and miserable you become. Just leave Dos Santos alone

    • I see Uncle Toms and Coons not happy when they see a fellow African doing good.
      Corruption and bloody money started with bazungu but don’t tell that to a Coon or an Uncle Tom…he will defend the slave masters. You thought America was corruption free but it turns out its the most corrupt Country in the world.Take a close look of what they did in Irag and Libya plus the Clinton Foundation and now the FBI is busy washing its dirty linen in public

      Dos Santos please bring more investments to Zambia we are tired dealing with the Chinese and the slave masters

    • Lunda Proverb: “Faeces attract flies”.

      Lungu is also a Shareholder of Unitel. Isabel’s corruption is well known. But her ill-gotten wealth will soon deplete.

      Lets attract genuine investors, not these thieves.

    • To all the Coons and Uncle Toms..just how well do you know Isabel Dos Santos apart from Google and the fake newspapers..i know you cant win when it comes to a Coon or an Uncle Tom defending a white man…for them a muzungu is always seen as a genuine [email protected] Maloza is one such a person and also Nubian Princess,2020 vision kukonda worshipping bazungu. Muna zindauka na matuvi ya bazungu

    • This is what corruption does that shortlist of potential network providers there were genuine firms willing to give serious competition to the existing firms in Zambia but the licence has been awarded corruptly to a company that is running away from Angola because its corruptly acquired monopoly is waning.
      The dots are starting to add up now on why Lazy Lungu still has not explained his unaccounted 3 days last week when he disappeared to the Tswana border ..yet his plane was in RSA…there is something that happened in RSA to influence this deal.

    • Hate her or like her she has paid protection money to Lungu and PF. Tasila will also own some shares to launder her corruptly obtained money. Just watch the space!

      But bachimbwi in PF and Lungu must know that we Zambians shall make them pay through their nose all what they have stolen.

    • Why can’t PF just do something right and follow procedure…thank god IMF never gave them that loan, these thieves never learnt anything from the Zamtel/LapGreen debacle. They are the most corrupt govt I have come across.

    • MasterP – Any newcomer in this sector was going to create jobs …its such a sector that you can not operate it remotely…that’s the nature of the business.

  2. Pf government promised to deepen competition, bring in jobs in the sector, and grow ICT infrastructure across the country by inviting private sector participants. There you have it. One more tick on the long list of deliverables for this pf government. Please continue and don’t be distracted. We’ll done!

    • Listen to yourself ..this company will just come to milk you dry …no way will it go head to head with the existing powerhouses. Read the first two paragraphs and let that sink in.
      Wake up from your folly.

    • @Jay Jay
      Surport your fellow African..let Africans start investing in Africa…if All the Zambians in the Diaspora put up a $20 000 investment back home do you know how much help that will be for the economy..Nigerians are investing every penny in their homeland and here we have people like Jay Jay,2020 vision,Nubian Princess, Mushota just wasting time on LT 24/7

  3. Isabel Dos Santos isn’t a rich woman due to her business savvy,she just got rich corruptly thru her daddy’s position & power.We need to say no to ill gotten gains being laundered in Zambia thru legit businesses.

    • Rubbish, we should have said no to Barclays Banks which made its money from slavery. Dos Santos is very welcome in Zambia not these white economic refugees from Zimbabwe.

    • shu shu shu – so if one wrong plus one does not make it right….I for one dont use Barclays. Your Christianity itself in the bible condones slavery if you want to talk about it..the Catholic Church made its worth from funding Slavery. Awarding this company a license is corruption as it eliminates genuine companies that were going to offer genuine services to you at competitive rates….you wonder why you are stuck behind this is the result.

  4. So what’s the fuss?? Because it’s been given to a company owned by Africans not Vodacom which has British roots??

    • You are as thick as two short planks to understand anything beyond your nose…I mean here is a person who has never seen an Ambulance or traveled abroad…assumes any Zambian in diaspora is a carer (bum cleaner)..really laughable.. surely how would you understand that this is retrogressive and corrupt.

    • Is travelling abroad an achievement for you??? So anything the western media says is true to you??? What a colonised knucklehead you are!!!

    • Like I said its not easy for you to understand and you being as thick as roller meal porridge does not help matters one bit!!

  5. THE REASONING IN THE ARTICLE IS CHILDISH. SO WHAT IF IT IS PARTLY OWNED BY Isabel Dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s former president…

    • That article is Bloomberg Magazine…Santos money is acquired through corruption at the expense of poor Angolans that’s the reason.

  6. We don’t want these corrupt cretins to be benefiting from us! NO TO UNITEL! NO TO THE DO SANTOS CLAN!

    We can not facilitate the corrupt acts of an elite in Angola that have kept their populace in extreme poverty! No!

    I urge my fellow Zambians to not buy any of the packages of UNITEL or whatever company name they adopt to operate in Zambia!

  7. I conquer with some blogers, so what if it own by an African richest woman?The reasoning of this article is shallow.lets promote African investments

    • You call yourselves Christian nation (whatever that means) yet you are morally bankrupt and lack principles…DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND THAT someone in PF has been oiled for Unitel to awarded this licence, this company has been operating for only 10 years in one country that’s a short time in Telecoms.
      Lazy Lungu must have met up with these guys when he disappeared in RSA…I can easily connect those dots if I had the time.

  8. Blah blah blah, it’s difficult to understand what we really want. In Zimbabwe all those with money stashed overseas have been ordered to return it. Some have done so..$500m. If it was in Zambia people would be saying it’s meant to fix political opponents. Zambia in the Sun.

    • That’s because Zim has not got the capacity to recover that money…you think its easy to recall money stashed in a Swiss account or some tax heaven.

  9. It boggles my mind really, but is this the best possible option? How do you give a licence to a company that is struggling to provide a service in its country of origin? Isabella may be the richest woman in Africa but everyone knows that this money belongs to her father, a former dictator who ruled Angola with an iron fist and killed may just to get rich. We had companies from SA with good reputation and how someone settles for this company beats me. Chagwa is at play here no doubt. Ala twafwa.

    • Bamwine, do you really understand sales and marketing gymnastics? When sales have gone down in one territory open new markets in other territories. This is what has created multinationals.

    • Bamwine – this is the cancer of corruption, its you and me deprived of genuine services..Never mind these usual PF cadres supporting blindly only to be complaining 12 months down the line of shambolic services.

  10. Congratulations, you just madea rich woman richer. She’s been in Zambia countless times, seen the market and moved in ruthlessly to make her money. This will no doubt be at the greater expense of Zamtel as the top dogs in GRZ likely have an interest in this license being awarded to UZI Zambia Mobile Limited.

    On a positive note though, some jobs will be created for PF cadres to ease the pressure on the treasury.

    • Imagine Lazy Lungu declared an extra holiday to mask his trip to see Unitel ahead of awarding this license…this is how irresponsible and corrupt this govt is. I mean if you dig deeper on the stakeholders in this firm am sure some proxies will pop up.

  11. It’s African money full stop….where are our own people?
    This slave mentality must cease….at first they went to parliament to fight King Mswati III over the same license….they will fight any African except the white man….awe ignorance pa zed is too much

    • It appears the aim of the opposition is to see government fail. Each time government does nothing it’s attacked. Each time it makes some improvement it’s attacked with all sorts of innuendos. Personally if I were in opposition I would like the sitting government to do well so that I find it easy when I take over government. You want to frustrated government to your political advantage but forgetting that in the process it’s the poor who’ll suffer. ..the same people you want to ” serve”

  12. Look at comments from these hopeless Zambians. Their leader instead of making money is busy dividing the country. Is it a wonder that the real Forbes Magazine don’t even list him among the 400 Rich Africans not talking about the world list?

    • Yes why can’t he invest in telecommunications or some of those things the foreigners are investing in. Moreover these foreigners don’t get GRZ money, they come with their own money. What HH should be doing is advising us how can maximize on these foreigners.

  13. Let Her invest and create employment.This is welcome unlike HH and GBM who want to steal from state coffers.

  14. We all know all the serious allegations of plunder and racketeering by Santos and his cfamily in Angola, why are we then allowing her to come and set up in Zambia? And you bet its Lungu partering with her, they must take a leaf from what is happening to Zuma and his family and goons in South Africa now, it is crucial my friends.

  15. you are welcome richest women,we are Africans we need to promote each other, Other than being given Aid from the west .for I would rather work than someone to pay for my bills , And later be called s h?

  16. sometimes it’s good to invest yo money in Africa even when u steal.I know stealing is wrong.Let also lungu come up with industries in Zambia instead of just taking the money to europe.Who gonna eat the money in white pipo’s countries.better invest in yo country.Chiluba’s properties are just benefiting white people.she is a great woman n she desrves support from africans.Alteast she invested in africa n Angola.

    • You’re right. Why invest your money in USA and create jobs for Americans while back in Zambia we virtually have none?

    • Just stop corruption and make money through business savvy and hard work…do you know how stupid you sound even makes it more silly that you are supported by a known PF sympathiser above.

  17. Where are the so called rich Zambians in all this. If you look at the Forbes’ list of wealthy Africans, mostly they are in telecoms. All we see, the so called rich Zambians is looking for Presidency which I am sure is a conduit to further enrich themselves after privatization.

  18. They have entered Zambia market.Government will tax and there is job creation.If customes (majority of Zambian) are satisfied with the product or service and there is a long relationship who cares.

    • You make it sound as if they were the only company on the shortlist and they will provide you with a free service like a charity.

  19. I hear the Chinese are among the world heavy-weights in corruption, but nobody raises a voice. Dos Santos, you are welcome to Zambia. We are waiting for you to create those scarce jobs for our young people. Bravo!

  20. I hear Nigeria is number one economy in Africa. But, Nigeria is also said to top the list as the most corrupt country in Africa. However, the difference with corrupt Nigerians is that they invest in the country. That is the reason why that country’s economy tops the list, it is vibrant. Just look at the movie industry, for example, no other African country matches Nigeria.

    By the way, the richest African man in Africa is a Nigerian. And my suspicion is that the richest African woman may not be Isabel Dos Santos, but some Nigerian. Just do a search, you will discover that it is true.

  21. All Zambian know is to take money to Paradise papers, whilst the Church is still debating where Paradise is, Whether it is on Earth or in Heaven. We can’t invest locally. Let’s emulate Isabela, investing in Africa. Please don’t go and invest in Paradise or Hail before you even know whether you are going to Paradise of Hail after death.

  22. This is half baked information. Isabel owns 25% of shareholding, who owns the 75%? this is the question we should be asking. By the way most of these multinationals and other powerful tycoons won’t tell you how they became rich, they began corruptly then cleaned up their businesses through legitimate means by buying shares and investing in companies like what Isabel is doing.

    • Exactly as its listed as a private company…I wonder if ZICTA investigated these questions, as it can be an corrupt entity trying to launder their corrupt acquired monies.

  23. But to come to think of it, do we really need a 4th mobile provider!? Why not revamp and massively improve Zamtel.. I mean, its the management that has run it into the ground, back then they would even build Zamtel flats for its staff, they had properties… Lets see MTN, AIRTEL or this new UZI build houses for its staff, hence empowering Zambians. Point is, Zambians should solve Zambian Problems and not some Angolan Billionaire… This was probably a commission based deal and not really the passion of improving service delivery. Why don’t we think outside the box and take Zamtel to Angola, Botswana or Southafrica!? All hope is not yet lost for those who feel its too late…

    • Juzz -Telecom companies should not be in the business of building houses for staff …there is nothing empowering about that; these companies are here to make a profit not build houses for you then sell them to you at a loss. You have employed an Engineer who has not run a business as CEO of Zamtel and you think he can turn it around and create a profit …really laughable.

    • Zamtel are in the red, and since Lap Green left they have invested a fraction of what other providers have! A loss making entity in a thriving business…..

  24. This deal stinks of corruption. Its public knowledge that Edward Jonathan has business interests in Angola. In fact he is buiding a 5 star hotel in Luanda. This could be some form of payment.

    • This just requires basic investigative journalism and the dots will be connected…especially the shareholders in Unitel and a quick check on where Lazy Lungu iin those 3 unaccounted days.

    • @jay-jay. Read my statement again. I mentioned poor management has failed to run Zamtel. The housing was merely an example of how the staff would benefit from a parastatal back in the day and not they they should be in the business of selling houses. This profit you mention is for whose’s benefit? Angola, dos-santos? Definitely not our government or Zambians. Its not rocket science that our country is being sold to foreigners in EVERYTHING. We need to learn how to generate wealth and spread it within. Not make the rich richer. Get the right people to run important positions and not appointments on favors or relation. We don’t need more and more foreign investors to make exorbitant profits off our poor and struggling economy, we need to begin to think and function as a civilized economy…

  25. It looks like Kavindele and Vodacom failed to give a big brown envelope become the 4th mobile phone provider. Vodacom now have strict company policies regarding bribery and corruption.

    “The Vodacom Code of Conduct clearly outlines Vodacom’s zero tolerance to any form of bribery. Our Anti-Bribery policy sets out examples of conduct that could amount to an offence under Anti-Bribery Laws.”

    UZI Mobile was born from corruption and operates by corruption.Just like AVIC and other Chinese companies,they must have paid millions of dollars in bribes to the PF for the Licence.

    • 2.1.3
      Bribing a Public Official
      Employees or Vodacom Representatives, whether directly or indirectly, must not offer, promise or give any financial or other advantage, including facilitation payments, to a Public Official or to another person at that Public Official’s request so as to influence the Public Official in order to obtain or retain business or any other advantage in the conduct of business. Employees or Vodacom Representatives must
      not provide any financial or other benefit to any person when it is known or there is reason to know that all or part of that financial or other benefit will or may be passed on to a Public Official, political party, or candidate to help obtain business or any other benefit.

    • Its Vodafone not Vodacom that missed out on the license, to bad as they are the biggest provider world wide and prices would have tumbled.

    • Do you own any posting here Mr CryBaby…just like this country if you are not careful you will not own anything on title..who will simply be talking whilst foreigners collect.

  26. dangoke mcreated wealth. hes started with pamelas. gbm started selling beans to boarding schools. what about the lady and hh. they just used shortcuts.


  27. Samlindo exactly my thought, now the investigation will spread to Zambia and her simple investments PF cadres are cheering about will be taken back. Enough of this foolishness of thinking investors are going to create jobs you have failed to create. Encourage or help the locals because what is happening here is the money will be siphoned out of the country leaving the locals without much liquid cash. People are complaining of no money because they so called investors are taking it out and why should foreigners have much leverage in our country than us, they are getting all our contracts, land and wealthy. A Zambian can’t get wealthy as it will be a crime to most people

  28. She is cute n brave woman.She needs support especially that she is from africa.we can create our won emperor

  29. You are welcome in our country that is the source of employment to some of us the Youth.
    Maybe you and your Compay you can help the young workers to open a ICT school so that when thy complete you send in your Compay than the rest of the networks we have.
    Come and Bring Development in our country.

  30. Zambian laptop/Mobile Phone legal,economic,Diplomatic and financial geniuses at it again.Arguing the whole day over things that they should accept.Jobs will be created,Mobile phone services will become cheaper / competitive etc.Busy arguing over Dos Santos…really???if we used the energy and passion on more constructive things,zambia would have been at a different level.Believe you me,no country has ever been changed/developed by a’s the people.But the majority of zambians are lazy,have a bad attitude towards work and like freebies.the few who actually work hard rarely have time to argue over such nonsense and are reaping the fruits of there hard work.Let me get back to making myself better and richer..adios losers!!

  31. Blacks should buy from blacks. I have no issues with this deal so long it will translate to fair gain for Zambia. Majority if not all white companies doing business here earned their capital and profit off our resources and the blood of our brothers and sisters who they treated like filth.

  32. Why would PF Government accept an investment associated with a person facing criminal investigations over the source of her money, but at the same time demonize HH who has NEVER EVER been subject to criminal investigations over his money.

    Hypocrisy. PERIOD.

  33. Comment: hello to everyone this is King Abraham Nana Hayden Kattan how can we meet for some donation to support the development projects which I’m currently working on to my fellow orphans because I’m also the one them I’m the real orphan King of Abraham Nana Hayden Kattan Kingdom

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