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Egypt's 9 Richest Men

In the Forbes' "Africa's 40 Richest"-list, Egypt was represented 9 times, by Sawiris, Mansour, Al-Fayed and Co. What does that tell us?
UPDATE: Download the free report of Egypt's 16 Richest Men 2013 here:

As we are used to, Forbes always publishes the most interesting lists in the international business-world.

This time, they decided to publish a list of Africa's 40 Richest people - where Egyptian business-men conquered nine places, after the list was headed by Nigerian titan Aliko Dangote with a net worth of $10.1 billion.

Check out how the Egyptians were ranked:

#3 Nassef Sawiris:
With a net worth of $4.75 billion, Nassef Sawiris runs Orascom Construction Industries, Egypt's most valuable publicly-traded company, which was founded by father Onsi. The construction and fertilizer company's shares fell almost one-third during the protests leading up to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's resignation in February. They later rallied to pre-revolution levels, but have slipped again. In addition to a sizable loan, the World Bank's IFC has made a $50 million equity investment in the company. In October, Sawiris hooked up with Brazilian billionaire Eike Batista's EBX Group to develop a nitrogen fertilizer plant in Brazil. Sawiris also owns big stakes in cement giant Lafarge, and Texas Industries.

#7 Naguib Sawiris:
With a net worth of $2.9 billion, Naguib Sawiris, the eldest son of Egyptian billionaire Onsi Sawiris, built Orascom Telecom, then sold the family's stake to Russian and emerging market telecom giant VimpelCom in April for $6.5 billion in shares and cash, becoming one of VimpelCom's largest shareholders in the process. He's looking to invest in telecom again. He also delved into Egyptian politics, forming the Free Egyptians party in April to promote free markets and a secular platform. His ill-advised tweet in June picturing a bearded Mickey Mouse and a veiled Minnie earned him death threats from Muslim extremists.

#9 Onsi Sawiris:
With a net worth of $2.6 billion, Onsi Sawiris is the patriarch of Egypt's wealthiest family. The Egyptian government nationalized his first construction business in 1971. Undeterred, he rebuilt what became Orascom Construction Industries. His son Nassef took over in 1995. Another son, Naguib, built a separate telecom company, while son Samih went into hotels and real estate. Onsi Sawiris now owns shares in Russian mobile operator VimpelCom, following its acquisition of the family stake in Orascom Telecom in April 2011. All three Sawiris sons appear on the Forbes Richest Africans list; Nassef and Naguib are billionaires.

#13 Mohamed Mansour:
Mohamed Mansour (net worth: $1.7 billion) and his brothers are the biggest sellers of GM vehicles in the world. Strong sales in their Caterpillar business throughout Africa, Russia and Iraq are making up for a slump in Egypt. Their shares in the country's second biggest real estate developer, Palm Hills, plunged following accusations of state land misappropriation in March—but the charges have since been cleared. Other interests include the largest supermarket chain in Egypt, and the Philip Morris franchise which is experiencing a big jump in sales of Marlboro cigarettes to stressed-out Egyptians.

#14 Yasseen Mansour:
With a net worth of $1.55 billion, Yasseen Mansour, the youngest of Egypt's three Mansour brothers, was put on the Interpol list on fraud charges in June, but was removed after being cleared of corruption charges this past summer over the misappropriation of state land for Palm Hills Developments. Yasseen, his brothers and cousin, the former housing minister who was also accused, but cleared on Palm Hills, are the largest shareholders in the company—Egypt's second-biggest real estate developer. Yasseen resigned as CEO in June, but remains chairman. The majority of his fortune is tied up in the family business; it is the largest seller of GM vehicles in the world.

#14 Youssef Mansour:
With a net worth of $1.55 billion, Youssef Mansour, the older brother of Egyptian billionaire businessmen Mohamed and Yasseen, keeps a low profile. His assets, especially in publicly traded real estate development company Palm Hills Developments, took a hit with the Egyptian uprising early in 2011. Youssef is responsible for building Egypt's largest supermarket chain, Metro, but now devotes time to the family foundation which targets illiteracy and education. The bulk of his fortune comes from the family's business as the largest seller of GM vehicles in the world, and strong sales of Caterpillar machines.

#16 Mohamed Al Fayed:
With a net worth of $1.3 billion, Mohamed Al Fayed sold the famed Harrod's department store in London to Qatar Holding in 2010 for a reported $2.4 billion. He's since shifted his attention to online retail, buying U.K.-based discount fashion website Cocosa in July. He bought for daughter Camilla a controlling stake in Princess Kate Middleton's favorite designer brand, Issa. A fan of James Bond, Al Fayed bid in April for Pinewood Studios, home to Bond movies, but lost. He's the owner of the Hotel Ritz in Paris, the Fulham football club, and a castle in Scotland. The flamboyant London-based Egyptian still courts controversy. He financed a documentary alleging that the royal family was out to kill Princess Diana and his son Dodi when their car crashed in Paris.

#19 Shafik Gabr:
With a net worth of $730 million, Egyptian businessman Shafik Gabr built ARTOC, a conglomerate with interests in steel fabrication, prefabricated factories, and logistical services for oil and gas companies. Turmoil in Egypt has hurt business, but he says "the future is positive as long as stability returns to the region. I believe in Egypt. " He is now eyeing the automotive business in Tunisia which was dominated by the deposed dictator's family, as well as infrastructure projects and the car business in Libya. Gabr has amassed one of the largest private collections of Orientalist paintings, and has bought new residences in Washington D.C. and London to display them—though the primary collection resides at his palatial home in Cairo. Says Gabr: "As I collect Orientalist pictures, I'm always reminded to take the long view of our region."

#23 Samih Sawiris:
With a net worth of $560 million, Samih Sawiris' Orascom Development Holding took a hit, as the drop in tourists to Egypt affected occupancy rates at Orascom-run hotels that include Marriott, Sheraton and Club Med. In July, he turned over the CEO position of Orascom Development to an outsider to manage the company's far-flung real estate operations, including a massive development of a Swiss town. In August, a Cairo court accused him of providing conflicting information over his company's ownership of its hotel subsidiary, and gave him a two-year jail sentence. Charges were lifted after Sawiris was slapped with a $3 million fine. Samih Sawiris' father Onsi and brothers Nassef and Naguib each have billion-dollar fortunes dominated by construction and telecom holdings.

Now what does that tell us? Justina Hierta, Chief Operating Officer of writes about what the Forbes' List tell us:

"Earlier today, Forbes put out its inaugural list of Africa's 40 Richest people. It's yet another example of the world's increasing interest in the story of Africa's growth. With growth comes wealth, so naturally we want a look behind the curtain. Who are the people who are really making it on the continent?

The list provides few surprises, to be honest, but we're going to take a deeper dive anyway. Here's what we learned:

1. Concentration. There is enormous concentration in wealth on this list. Pretty much every point here echoes this reality, starting with the fact that ...

2. Only a few countries on the continent are represented. All 40 of Africa's richest people come from six countries. Just two of the entrants are from Kenya and one from Zimbabwe, so really, four countries are at the forefront of this list: South Africa with 15, Egypt with nine, Nigeria with eight, and Morocco with five. If you look at just the billionaires, Egypt jumps to the front of the line with seven of the 16 on the list. Where you are born does matter and not just statistically. Ethiopia has slightly more people than Egypt and the DRC has considerably more than South Africa, but you don't see either of those countries represented on this list.

3. Huge spread in wealth, even among the richest. A list of the richest people in the U.S. (or many other countries) shows a few at the top and a lot in the middle. Africa isn't much different: for instance, the wealth of Nicky Oppenheimer and his family, of the DeBeers empire, is equal to 65 percent of that of Aliko Dangote, who tops the list. The numbers drop quickly after that.

4. A handful of industries are leading growth. Again, not surprising that these moguls have made their names in construction, real estate, sugar, flour, cement, telecoms, oil, and financial services by and large. Retail and luxury goods pop up once or twice. We'll call that the normal course of development.

5. An all-male cast. The list is all men. No surprise there. Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, is still in charge in Liberia.

We must make mention of Forbes' methodology—this list does not include Africans that now claim citizenship abroad. Mo Ibrahim, one of Africa's best known entrepreneurs, is not included due to his residency in the United Kingdom. Our bet is that a few more African countries would be represented if the methodology changed to include members of the diaspora. But that's likely to be the biggest change. Africa's 40 Richest is going to be a concentrated list for quite a while."
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