Weighing in at number two on the Arabian Business Rich List 2009 last year, Nasser Al Kharafi remains one of the most influential Arabs in the region and is still the leading supplier to the newspaper industry in Kuwait.
Al Kharafi has also been at the centre of one of the biggest cross-border deals involving Middle Eastern firms — the sale of telecoms giant Zain ’s African assets to Indian outfit Bharti. With the deal likely to be confirmed in April, at the latest, it could turn out to be a great bit of business for the operator in the current market.
And if you tend to dine out often in the UAE, you’ve probably found yourself a regular at KFC, TGI Friday’s, Pizza Hut or one of the many other US franchises exclusively controlled by Al Kharafi’s food division, Americana Group.
Away from the food court, the Al Kharafi Group is also a top contender in regional construction, engineering and maintenance industries, with contracts in more than 30 countries. Notable contracts include a $110m Beirut hotel, a $200m golf and residential development in South Africa, and a $400m sewage plant in Kuwait. Al Kharafi also holds a large stake in the National Bank of Kuwait , which is credited for its efforts to improve the infrastructure in Iraq.