The 10 Richest Arabs and how they made a fortune?

The 10 richest Arabs and how they made a fortune

The business magazine Arabian Business has published its annual list of billionaires the wealthiest Arab, which includes the 50 richest people in the Arab world.

Saudi businessmen dominate the list of Arab billionaires; main industries include retail, real estate, construction, energy and banking.

Here are the 10 richest Arab business personalities:

  1. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Al Saud

Fortune: $ 25.1 billion

Country: Saudi Arabia

How he made his fortune: The majority of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s fortune comes from his Kingdom Holding Company (KHC), which he founded in 1980.

KHC’s investments include regional and international stakes in many major companies such as the American bank Citigroup, Jeddah Economic Company (which is developing the 1 km tower in Jeddah which will be the tallest in the world), the hotel group Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts , the Plaza Hotel in New York, the Savoy hotel in London, Four Seasons Hotel Georges V in Paris, the Saudi airline Flynas, the media group News Corp of Rupert Murdoch and the tourist complex Disneyland Paris.

However, he also has other sources of wealth, including his Rotana media arm, as well as his numerous investments and private assets.

  1. Joseph Safra

Joseph Safra
Joseph Safra

Fortune:  $ 12.3 billion

Country:  Lebanon

How he made his fortune: Joseph Safra, the Lebanese-born banker heads the Brazilian banking and investment empire Safra Group. Born into a family of wealthy bankers, the history of the Safra family in the banking sector began with the caravan trade between Beirut, Aleppo, Alexandria and Istanbul during the days of the Ottoman Empire.

The Beirut family decided to move to Brazil in 1952, and in 1955 Joseph’s brother and father began to finance assets in Sao Paulo. Joseph Safra founded Banco Safra in 1955 and remains one of the largest private banks in Brazil with nearly $ 60 billion in assets.

  1. Olayan family

Fortune:  $ 10.9 billion

Country:  Saudi Arabia

How they made a fortune: The Olayan family runs the Saudi conglomerate Olayan Group. One of the main shareholders in Credit Suisse. He also holds stakes in the British energy supplier National Grid and a real estate portfolio estimated at $ 700 million in Paris. But his interests abroad constitute only part of the colossal portfolio of the family, a large part of which is based in Saudi Arabia.

Olayan Group oversees approximately 50 affiliates, with offices in three continents and a workforce of 15,000. The company also holds franchise rights for Burger King in the Middle East and North Africa region. The Olayan group was founded by Suleiman Olayan in 1947. Suleiman left his empire to his son Khaled and his three daughters, Lubna, Hutham and Hayat.

  1. Sawiris family

Fortune:  $ 9.9 billion

Country:  Egypt

How they made a fortune: The Sawiris family is a billionaire Egyptian family that owns the Orascom conglomerate founded in 1950 by Father Onsi Sawiris, covering telecommunications, construction, tourism, and technology.

Several group companies are managed by the three sons of Onsi Sawiris: Naguib, Samih and Nassef. The latter is a shareholder of around 5% of the cement giant LafargeHolcim and 7% of Adidas. In 1998, his older brother Naguib launched the first Egyptian mobile operator, Mobinil.

  1. Issam Al Zahid

Fortune:  $ 9.4 billion

Country:  Saudi Arabia

How he made his fortune:  Issam Al Zahid heads one of the largest and diversified conglomerates in Saudi Arabia, Alzahid Group of Companies, which is a private company owned by him and his family. The Alzahid group started in 1951 under the name of Alzahid Construction, while taking part in the planning on a smaller scale of roads and other urban infrastructures. Later, he would be selected to build the first Coast Guard stations in the kingdom.

In 1958, the business was booming, building everything from bridges to tunnels. Today, with offices located in Al Khobar, the conglomerate has more than 41,000 employees and has significant interests in the mining sector, logistics, oil and gas, manufacturing, information technology, foodstuffs, retail. and many other sectors.

  1. Mohammed Al Amoudi

Fortune:  $  9 billion

Country:  Saudi Arabia

How he made his fortune: From Sweden to Ethiopia, Mohammed Al Amoudi’s collection of industrial assets is considerable. Al Amoudi emigrated to Saudi Arabia in 1965 and became a Saudi citizen. He made his first fortune in construction and real estate before embarking on the purchase of oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden and in his native country, Ethiopia.

Its holding companies, Corral Group and MIDROC Group, employ more than 760,000 people. Corral Group has an investment portfolio in Europe and the Middle East including Preem Petroleum, the largest integrated petroleum company in Sweden, Svenska Petroleum & Exploration, SAMIR, Naft Services Company (Saudi Arabia) and Fortuna Holdings (Lebanon) .


  1. Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber

Fortune:  $ 8.8 billion

Country:  Saudi Arabia

How he made his fortune: Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber remains one of the richest men in Great Britain thanks to his 35 years of experience which have enabled the MBI International group to become an established collection of large international companies. These include: JJW Hotels & Resorts, which owns and operates luxury hotels in Europe, the Middle East and North Africa; Jadawel, a real estate development company in the Middle East; and Continentoil, an oil services company.

Al Jaber is also a shareholder of Ajwa Group for Food Industries, an agrifood processing company. A well-known philanthropist, the MBI Al Jaber Foundation funds scholarship programs in some of the best schools in the world.

  1. Bin Laden family

Fortune:  $ 8.3 billion

Country:  Saudi Arabia

How they made a fortune:  The bin Laden family’s fortune is built thanks to their construction company, which was very successful in the past when it obtained contracts for major renovations in Mecca and other religious buildings in Saudi Arabia and abroad.

The Saudi Binladin group founded by Mohammed bin Laden the father of Osama bin Laden in 1950 , the family also built several palaces in Riyadh and Jeddah for the royal family and carried out restoration work following an arson attack on the Al Mosque Aqsa of Jerusalem in 1969. Salem, the eldest son of Mohammed, ruled the empire left by his father at his death in 1968 until his death when his private plane crashed in the United States in 1988. Thirteen of Mohammed’s sons sit on the family firm’s board of directors, the most important being Bakr, Hassan, Islam and Yehya.

  1. Al Ghurair family

Fortune:  $ 7.5 billion

Country:  United Arab Emirates

How they made a fortune:  The family’s legacy goes back to Ahmad Al Ghurair who founded Al Ghurair Group in 1960. Ahmad passed on his inheritance to his sons Saif, Abdulla, Majid, Marwan and Jomaa.

Perhaps the most important family member today is Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair (photo), son of Abdulla Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq Bank, who started it with $ 1.6 million in capital during the oil boom in the 1960s.

  1. Kharafi family

Fortune:  $ 7.2 billion

Country:  Kuwait

How they made a fortune:  Kharafi Group, the Kuwaiti family conglomerate founded in 1956, which has an annual turnover of around $ 5 billion and is already active in 25 countries around the world, from Senegal to Botswana passing by through Kazakhstan and the Maldives and has over 120,000 employees.

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