Last year, we ranked the various members of Kuwait’s Alghanim family together for the first time. Among the members are Bassam, who is reportedly splitting from the rest of the family’s business interests, plus Kutayba and Omar. Alghanim Industries was launched in its modern format by Yusuf Ahmed Alghanim, who returned to Kuwait in 1932 after studying overseas. Yusuf completely revitalised the firm, signing a deal with General Motors to bring the brand into Kuwait.
Further deals have been signed with some of the world’s biggest companies, including Samsung, Nokia, Toshiba, Xerox and Hitachi. Outside the family business, Alghanim Industries also holds a sizeable stake in Gulf Bank, one of the country’s biggest lenders, and on whose board Omar Alghanim sits as chairman.
Najib Mikati may no longer be Lebanon’s prime minister, but he is still his country’s richest man. Mikati, 57, who entered Lebanon’s fractious political scene in 1998 as minister of public works and transport, before then becoming a member of parliament representing his native northern port city of Tripoli, later served as a caretaker premier once in 2005 in the aftermath of the assassination of former premier Rafiq Hariri.
He helped steer the country towards parliamentary elections in the wake of the killing before returning in 2011 to serve as premier after the government of Saad Hariri was toppled by Hezbollah and its allies. Mikati, a graduate of the American University of Beirut, helped co-found Investcom along with his brother Taha in 1982 and was later listed on both the London and Dubai stock exchanges in 2006, in what was at the time the largest international listing of a Middle Eastern company. MTN Group Ltd, Africa’s largest mobile phone operator, bought the company in 2006 for $5.5bn. M1 Group, which the two brothers run, became its second-largest shareholder. The company’s holdings include real estate investments in the US, Europe and the Middle East, as well as the Geneva-based Baboo airline and French retailer Faconnable.