José Eduardo dos Santos

Ex-Sonangol CEO tipped as next president

LUANDA, March 11, 2016 – Manuel Vicente, current vice-president and former CEO of Sonangol, is rumoured to succeed José Eduardo dos Santos as president of Angola after the latter on Friday announced he would be stepping down in 2018.

In power since 1979, Dos Santos oversaw the post-civil war reconstruction efforts and a period of oil- and gas-driven economic growth. His critics, however, point to cronyism, corruption and the unfair distribution of wealth. In 2012, Forbes magazine named Dos Santos one of the five worst leaders in Africa.

 

Manuel Vicente served as Sonangol CEO between 1999 and 2012, during which time Angola’s national oil production grew from close to 750,000 bopd to some 1.78 million bopd. “[Dos Santos] has been grooming Vicente for quite a while now […] He has deputised for him on a number of important occasions, which sent a strong signal,” Reuters quoted NKC African Economics analyst Gary van Staden as saying.

Also commenting on the news, economics lecturer at the Catholic University of Angola Nelson Bonavena pointed to Dos Santos’ son, sovereign wealth fund head José Filomeno de Sousa dos Santos, as possible dynastic successor.

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