The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is awash with high flying billionaires. Cataloging them all would be impossible. However the following three are worthy to keep tabs on-who knows they may one day be household names not only in the MENA region but across the globe.
#1.Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud (Saudi Arabia)
Prince Alwaleed is a successful billionaire businessman, philanthropist and investor. He is a member of the Saudi royal family. In 2008, he was listed on Time magazine’s top 100 most influential people in the world.
He owns 95 percent of the Kingdom Holding Company, a company which he founded and today remains as its Chief Executive Officer. He was listed as the 45th richest man in the world by Forbes in November 2017, with a net worth of $18 billion.
2016 was fairly mixed for the most well-known face in the Middle Eastern business landscape. He was involved in various notable deals but had some disappointments and losses of profit.
The outspoken manner of Prince Alwaleed continues to attract attention even outside of business. A case in point is when he declared US Presidential candidate Donald Trump a “disgrace” on Twitter towards the end of 2015 and went around congratulating Trump after he won the November 2016 US Presidential elections.
The billionaire is well known for his charitable donations in many worthy causes around the world.
#2.Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum (UAE)
Al Maktoum is the CEO and chairman of the Emirates Group, president of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai World as well as Noor Takaful Insurance Company. He is the second vice chairman of the Dubai Executive Council and the chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal committee.
It was not an easy year for businesses under Sheikh Ahmed. For example, financial issues and economic uncertainties resulted in heavy losses for the Dubai based carrier Emirates in the first half of November 2017. The November losses ended a streak of 16 straight quarters of impressive profits at the flagship carrier due to a slowing economy.
Nevertheless Al Maktoum still has a lot to smile about as we near the end of the year.
#3.Khalid Al Falih (Saudi Arabia)
Al Falih was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in the year 1960 but was raised in Dammam, the capital of the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University. Later in 1991, Al Falih obtained his MBA at the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals.
Khalid Al Falih in May last year took the position many believed deserved to be his, when he succeeded Ali Al-Naimi as the Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources of Saudi Arabia , He is also chairman of Saudi Aramco. He was previously the Saudi Arabian Health Minister and CEO of Aramco.
The role of Minister of Energy, Industry and Mineral Resources gives Al Falih great power and influence over the oil market around the globe. He doubles as the chairman of the state-owned oil giant Aramco.