May 19, 2020

Africa’s richest woman under pressure to quit Sonangol role

Isabel Dos Santos Sonangol
Dos Santos Marques
Sonangol Unita
President Dos Santos Sonangol
Polycarp Kazaresam
2 min
Africa’s richest woman under pressure to quit Sonangol role

An Angolan human rights activist has asked the country’s attorney general to revoke the appointment of Isabel dos Santos as head of Sonangol. Among others, Rafael Marques condemns president José Eduardo dos Santos for naming his daughter head of the state energy company.

Isabel dos Santos is Africa’s richest woman. The 43-year-old owns a 25 percent stake in Unitel, Angola’s first private mobile phone operator. She is also a major shareholder in other big companies across Angola and Portugal.

President Dos Santos appointed his daughter to lead Sonangol this month by presidential decree.

“With matters of natural strategic resources, the president cannot change the rules as he pleases. He must seek a request from the parliament. He did not do that and, therefore, the reforms on Sonangol are unconstitutional,” the award-winning reporter and campaigner Marques said (adding that he has filed three requests with the attorney general’s office). “The appointments as a consequence of these reforms are also unconstitutional as they are illegal. The president uses his decrees to award state contracts to his family,” he said.
 

Isabel Dos Santos is worth approximately $3 billion (£2.09 billion). She dismisses suggestions that it was family connections, rather than business acumen, that led to her appointment.

Marques is not the only one challenging the appointment. On 9 June, a group of lawyers (led by David Mendes and Luis Nascimento) challenged the manner of Dos Santos’ appointment, arguing that it went against public probity laws. The lawyers also presented their concerns to the supreme court.

Angola’s main opposition party, the Union for the Total Independence of Angola (Unita), have requested that parliament open an inquiry into the business of Sonangol.

Furthermore, a senior Johannesburg-based banker told Reuters the appointment may make it difficult for international banks to do business with Sonangol, as it creates a perception of nepotism.
 

African Business Review’s June issue is now live.

Stay connected: follow @AfricaBizReview and @WedaeliABR on Twitter.

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SOURCE: [The Guardian]

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Jun 14, 2021

5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly

Tapoly
Insurance
Leadership
Digital
Kate Birch
3 min
Heading up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy is winning awards and leading with diversity

Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.

Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills. 

What do you do, in a nutshell?

I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.

How would you describe your leadership style?

I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.

What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?

Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.

How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?

I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.

They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?

The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless. 

What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?

Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.

 

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