Industry: Banking & Finance
Company: AlBaraka Banking Group
Country: Saudi Arabia
Wealth: 4.9 Billion
Over the last 40 years Saleh Kamel has built an empire on the back of his close relationship with the Saudi government, and his company now incorporates investments of billions of dollars across 40 countries.
During the oil boom of the 1960s, Kamel put his company forward for a string of infrastructure contracts, so helping turn the government’s vision into a reality. The successful delivery of roads, pipelines and sewerage networks led to a contract to maintain the pilgrimage sites and Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina, and public works continued with the Dallah Avco Trans Arabia Company, which was responsible for building and maintaining Saudi’s airports.
Kamel’s smart business sense has since enabled him to expand from construction into banking, real estate, healthcare and even media — he founded both Middle East Broadcasting Centre (MBC) and Arab Radio & Television (ART) — and
has spent the last decade as one of the Kingdom’s best-performing companies. Today,
is developing the $9.3bn King Abdul Aziz Road in Mecca, stretching from the city’s western entrance to its Holy Mosque. In addition, Kamel is chairman of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
In June 2008, the Saudi entrepreneur revealed details of his latest venture, launching a new Bahrain-based Islamic investment bank, and seeking to raise as much as $11bn for various projects across all Muslim countries.
The bank plans to finance long-term agricultural, industrial and technology projects in most Islamic states. It has already formed a number of units in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Sudan, Senegal, Mauritania and Benin to look for investment opportunities.
Kamel also owns 30 percent of
Albaraka Banking Group
, a conglomerate that he founded and that runs a vast Islamic banking operations, as well as real estate, construction and manufacturing interests.