UNITEL, the largest telecom provider in Angola, has been making waves recently for a string of announcements on the world stage. Chief amongst these is the company’s integration into the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) list of partners. This news also comes tied to high-profile events and announcements related to the company’s chairperson, Isabel dos Santos. We took some time to further investigate the recent information concerning the company, which has played a role in a number of changes that have taken place in its home nation. Read on for a more in-depth look at the WEF announcement as well as other news related to the chairperson and the company.
Reaffirmation of leadership
One new development to come out of the company of late is a recent vote on the makeup of the firm’s board. The vote, which saw shareholders weigh in on whether or not to keep existing board members, had a fair amount of uncertainty associated with it before it was conducted. The thought by some was that there may have been a sentiment that a shift in board makeup would be beneficial to company operations. Whether or not the majority of shareholders shared that opinion was a primary consideration heading into the vote.
That feeling, however, turned out not to be widespread. In a unanimous decision, shareholders voted to keep Isabel dos Santos, as well as four other members, on the board moving forward (BusinessWire). This vote has been hailed by many as a mandate for the businesswoman to continue to help steer the course of the company. The new board elected by shareholders will take office in roughly a month’s time, at which point individual board positions will be selected.
Though there was uncertainty leading into the election, many have since expressed confidence in dos Santos, owing in part to her litany of qualifications for her position. These qualifications stem from a lifetime of experience in a range of industries including finance, construction, and education. This experience has also spanned a number of different positions across these industries, providing the entrepreneur with an invaluable familiarity with the operation of large-scale firms. Such an extensive range of experience, sometimes rare in upper-level leadership, is one factor that helped voters come to their decision.
Another factor that has helped bolster the businesswoman’s credentials and assure voters that she possesses a diverse skill set is her international upbringing. Much of her formal education was conducted abroad, with her primary and secondary education taking place in Kent, England. She attended university in England as well, receiving her degree in electrical engineering from King’s College in London. That degree, which emphasized coursework in technology and problem-solving, left dos Santos well-placed to enter the field of telecommunications, an industry that relies heavily on technological advancement in order to function.
Work with WEF
The effectiveness by UNITEL in implementing technology throughout Angola and becoming the industry’s market leader in the nation helped influence the aforementioned WEF decision to add the company to its exclusive list of partners. The organization, which was established in 1971, is no stranger to working with innovators in their fields. In fact, one major goal of the forum is to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while also upholding the highest standards of governance. It also values intellectual and moral integrity, noting that these values are at the heart of everything it does. The WEF works with a range of institutions, from academic to industrial fields, and strives to tailor its projects to the strengths of each type of organization.
Much of the strategy of the WEF, and one of the reasons it was interested in working with UNITEL, centers around bringing together leaders from all portions of the global society. Through the combined brainpower represented by these figures, the organization works to tackle some of the most difficult challenges facing the modern world. That model has been in place for almost 50 years now and has seen the organization contribute greatly to progress around the globe. This progress has included worldwide initiatives, industrial innovations, and economic theory implementation.
Familiarity with development
UNITEL’s partnership with the WEF serves to underscore the work Isabel dos Santos has engaged in throughout her career. Her diverse skill set, which she often focuses towards aiding the public good, is emblematic of the kind of industry leaders the forum typical works with. When discussing the partnership, the businesswoman expressed excitement at the work the two organizations would be able to accomplish together. “This is a very big achievement for us,” said the chairperson. “The management team is very proud to be part of this exclusive partnership and network of impressive business leaders. We have a very clear exciting path of growth and look forward to speaking about it at next WEF Davos.”
To that last point, the businesswoman referenced her company’s increased participation in world gatherings that would now result from the partnership. This includes participation in Regional Summits in Africa and the Middle East, the Annual Meeting of the New Champions in China, and the 2020 Davos Annual Meeting. These events will provide additional opportunity for the businesswoman to tap into her passion for development and advocating for underserved people across Angola and Africa. When it occurs, this will be another in a long list of such engagements that have highlighted the work she has done in her capacity as a leader at her firm and in her private endeavors.
With the numerous headlines coming out of UNITEL of late, it is clear that the company is poised to play an even more pronounced role on the world stage than it has in the past. This role, which will include efforts to further the goal of developmental organizations around the world, is an extension of the work already taking place in Angola today. As with any large institution, the guiding hand of those in leadership positions, such as Isabel dos Santos, has played a significant part in shaping the company into what it is today. As voters have recently reaffirmed her place on the board, look for further news to come out of the company as the businesswoman helps to plan its future.