6. The Sawiris family $10bn ($11.2bn) Egypt
There is no stopping this family. Just last week Naguib Sawiris announced plans to invest $1bn in Egypt next year, focusing on construction, real estate, agriculture and microfinance. Indeed ever since Onsi, the patriarch of the family handed over the reins to Naguib, his eldest son and two brothers Nassef and Samih, their fortunes have rocketed. They took over and expanded the Orascom conglomerate into a telecommunications, construction, hotel and development business. Naguib, 58, launched the first mobile operator in Egypt, Mobinil in 1998, was chairman of the telecoms firms Wind Telecom and Orascom and launched Koryolink, the first mobile operator in North Korea in 2008. Naguib turned to politics as a wave of protests swept Egypt overthrowing former president Hosni Mubarak in 2011.
Vicious competition and a saturated marketplace have made life tough for Saudi Arabia’s third mobile operator, Zain KSA. But the appointment last year of one of the kingdom’s top telecoms figures, Sheikh Farhan Al Faisal Al Jarbaa, has helped the firm turn its fortunes around.