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The Top 20 Billionaires of Middle East And Africa

Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed is the richest man in the Middle East with $18 billion

By Forbes India
Published: Mar 27, 2012

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 Prince Alwaleed bin Talal Alsaud
GLOBAL RANK: 29
$18 BILLION
 SAUDI ARABIA, Investments

The Middle East’s richest capitalist garners most of his net worth—some $10.7 billion—from a 95% stake in his Saudi-listed investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding Co, whose assets include shares in Apple, Citigroup and part of the Four Seasons Hotels. The drop in the Prince’s net worth since last year is due to lower estimates by Forbes of the value of some of his private real estate holdings, his airplanes and his yacht.

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 Mohammed Al Amoudi
GLOBAL RANK: 61
$12.5 BILLION
 SAUDI ARABIA, Diversified

The son of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother, Al Amoudi made his initial fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia and recently expanded into agriculture in Ethiopia, where he is growing rice, corn and other staples. His most valuable asset is Preem, his Swedish oil refinery. He also owns oilfields off West Africa. In July his Midroc Gold discovered over 33,000 kilograms of gold deposits.

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Aliko Dangote
$11.2 BILLION
GLOBAL RANK: 76
 NIGERIA, Sugar, Flour, Cement

Commodities titan Dangote is now expanding his cement empire. In February he opened a new $1 billion cement plant in Nigeria. He also plans to invest $4 billion for a cement facility in Ivory Coast. Other assets include sugar, flour firms.

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Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber  
GLOBAL RANK: 133
$7 BILLION
 SAUDI ARABIA, Real Estate, Hotels

He owns a string of luxury and budget hotels in Europe and Egypt through JJW Hotels & Resorts and operates compounds for expats in Saudi Arabia. In December, he settled a heated dispute with Standard Bank in London.

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Nicky Oppenheimer & family
$6.8 BILLION
GLOBAL RANK: 139
 SOUTH AFRICA, Diamonds

Oppenheimer made the momentous decision in November to sell his family’s 40% stake in De Beers to Anglo American for $5.1 billion. This will mark the end of a relationship that began when Nicky’s grandfather took over the firm in 1927.

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Idan Ofer
GLOBAL RANK: 161
$6.2 BILLION
ISRAEL, Shipping, Oil

Idan and his brother Eyal inherited an equal share of their late father Sammy’s fortune last summer. Idan got the Quantum Pacific Group, which holds the Ofer stake in Israel Corp, and Pacific Drilling, which went public in the US and has since risen in value.

Beny Steinmetz
GLOBAL RANK: 169
$5.9 BILLION
 ISRAEL, Mining, Diamonds

Last year he poured $100 million into his real estate company, Scorpio, in exchange for rescheduling debt payments until 2018. That followed a $130 million loan from Steinmetz to fuel operations. However, his fortune was buoyed by selling 51% of his iron ore company in Guinea to Brazil’s Vale for $2.5 billion. His group recently announced that spinoff diamond mine company Octea plans to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

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Sulaiman Al Rajhi
GLOBAL RANK: 169
$5.9 BILLION
 SAUDI ARABIA BANKING

Al Rajhi announced plans in May 2011 to donate the bulk of his fortune to charity. “How can you satisfy your hunger while your neighbour is spending the night hungry?” he asked. His drop in net worth from $7.7 billion in 2011 reflects a partial gifting of his fortune. With his brothers, Al Rajhi founded one of the world’s largest Islamic banks, Al Rajhi Bank.

Eyal Ofer
$5.8 BILLION 
GLOBAL RANK: 173
 ISRAEL, Shipping, Real Estate

Inherited his father’s fortune with brother Idan. Eyal has extensive real estate holdings, including 15 Central Park West in Manhattan. The brothers share a shipping fortune and a vast art collection.

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Johann Rupert
GLOBAL RANK: 199
$5.1 BILLION
 SOUTH AFRICA, Luxury Goods

Chairs Richemont, a Swiss company whose brands include Cartier, Alfred Dunhill, Montblanc and Chloé. In 2010 it acquired online fashion portal Net-a-Porter for $343 million. Sales at the Richemont group have been on the rise, driven by increased demand for luxury goods in Asia.
Rupert has made headlines of late by opposing Royal Dutch Shell’s planned hydraulic fracturing operations in the Karoo region of South Africa, where he owns extensive conservation land.

Images: Amoudi: Hans Berggren; Alsaud: Getty Images; Dangote : Mike Hutchings / Reuters; Jaber: Benkoe / PPS Vienna; Oppenheimer: Stefan Wermuth / Reuters; Ofer : Simon Dawson / Bloomberg; Rajhi: Fahad Shadeed / Reuters; Rupert: Dave M. Benett


Nassef Sawiris
GLOBAL RANK: 199
$5.1 BILLION
 EGYPT, Construction

He runs Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt’s most valuable publicly traded company, founded by his father, Onsi. In December the company announced plans to split its construction and fertiliser units into 2 listed firms in the first quarter of this year. Sawiris increased his stake in struggling US cement producer Texas Industries in late 2011. In October he hooked up with billionaire Eike Batista to develop a nitrogen fertiliser plant in Brazil.

Mike Adenuga
$4.3 BILLION
GLOBAL RANK: 248
 NIGERIA, Telecom, Banking, Oil

Reclusive tycoon runs Conoil Producing, the first Nigerian com- pany to strike oil in commercial quantities in the early 1990s. Today it is Nigeria’s largest oil exploration company. Also owns Globacom, Nigeria’s second-largest mobile telecom operator. He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks but hit it big through the bene- faction of Nigeria’s former military president, Ibrahim Babangida.

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Stef Wertheimer
$4.2 BILLION
GLOBAL RANK: 255
 ISRAEL, Tools

He garnered attention in 2006 when the tool manufacturer he founded became the first big international target of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Sold 80% of ISCAR to Buffett that year and maintains a 20% stake in the company, which his son currently runs.

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Arnon Milchan
GLOBAL RANK: 290
$3.8 BILLION
 ISRAEL, Investments, Movies

Last fall, Hollywood producer Milchan stripped down and rebuilt his executive team at New Regency films, the company he founded, which had been suffering anemic box office returns. He has recently taken to painting—around 3 hours every day.

mg_64602_shari_arison_280x210.jpg Shari Arison
$3.9 BILLION
GLOBAL RANK: 288
 ISRAEL, Carnival Cruises, Investments

Israel’s richest woman took a hit along with her brother, Micky Arison, after the Costa Concordia cruise ship crash off Italy in early January; she has a stake in Carnival Cruise Lines, which owns Costa. Arison also bought her brother’s shares in Arison Holdings, the investment company left to the siblings by their father, Carnival founder Ted Arison, thereby increasing her stakes in Israel’ Bank Hapoalim and Shikun u’Binui Holdings.

Naguib Sawiris
GLOBAL RANK: 367
$3.1 BILLION
 EGYPT, Telecom

Eldest son of billionaire Onsi Sawiris and brother of Nassef built Orascom Telecom, then sold the family’s stake to Russian VimpelCom in April 2011 for $6.5 billion in shares and cash, becoming one of VimpelCom’s largest shareholders in the process. He also delved into Egyptian politics, forming the Free Egyptians Party in April to promote free markets and a secular platform.

Christoffel Wiese
GLOBAL RANK: 367
$3.1 BILLION
 SOUTH AFRICA, Retail

Wiese, known as “Christo,” is the chairman and the largest shareholder of Africa’s biggest retailer, low-price supermarket chain Shoprite. The company’s shares climbed 50% since last year. He also owns a large stake in discount clothes, shoes and textiles chain Pepkor.

Taha Mikati
GLOBAL RANK: 377
$3 BILLION
 LEBANON, Telecom

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Najib Mikati
GLOBAL RANK:  377
$3 BILLION
 LEBANON, Telecom

Najib Mikati became prime minister of Lebanon in January 2011 and immediately faced threats to the country’s stability. He and brother Taha made their fortune in telecom by selling their stake in Investcom to South Africa’s MTN Group in 2006. With the proceeds, they established M1 Group, which has investments in real estate, jet leasing and apparel company Façonnable. Najib relinquished his post in the group when he became PM.

Husnu Ozyegin
GLOBAL RANK: 377
$3 BILLION
 TURKEY, Financial Services, Tourism, Real Estate

Founded Finansbank in 1987 and sold a 46% stake to National Bank of Greece for $2.76 billion in 2006. He now owns Credit Europe Bank, with $13 billion in assets, and is active in tourism, retail and real estate. His private Ozyegin University began enrolling students in 2008.

Images:Wertheimer: Getty Images; Milchan: Lester Cohen; Arison: Ahikam Seri / Bloomberg; Najib: Hussein Malla / AP

(This story appears in the 30 March, 2012 issue of Forbes India. You can buy our tablet version from Magzter.com. To visit our Archives, click here.)

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