Bank of Namibia spokesperson Ndangi Katoma said the bank had granted provisional authorisation to Bank BIC Namibia Limited to conduct business as a banking institution in Namibia.

Bank BIC Namibia Limited is a subsidiary of Angolan Bank Banco BIC, which is 42,5% owned by Africa’s first woman billionaire, Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos.

But Katoma warned that Bank BIC Namibia would not be allowed to engage in banking activities with any person in Namibia just yet, “especially soliciting deposits.” The Bank of Namibia must first issue a certificate of authorisation.

Angolan Bank Banco BIC is one of Angola’s biggest banks, with an estimated 200 branches across the country.

Portuguese newspaper, Publico reported last week that dos Santos had increased her stake in Angolan Bank Banco BIC by 25% to 42,5%.

Namibia’s banking sector is currently dominated by three South African subsidiaries First National Bank, Standard Bank, Nedbank, as well as Bank Windhoek.

Dos Santos made her money through a series of canny investments (such as a stake in mobile phone service provider Unitel), following the establishment of a nightclub and restaurant, called Miami Beach Club, on Luanda Island. She went on to make several investments in Portuguese companies.

With her $3,4-billion (R38-billion) fortune, Dos Santos is not only the youngest billionaire in Africa, but is also the richest black woman in the world according to Forbes. Oprah Winfrey takes second place with $3 billion (R34 billion) and Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakijais with a fortune estimated to be $2,6 billion (R29 billion).

Sources: Sapa, DESTINY