Saleh Kamel’s name is synonymous with Islamic banking and finance. Born in Taif, Saudi Arabia, Kamel, 71, grew up in Makkah and attended Riyadh University and went on to work at the kingdom’s Ministry of Finance. He left public office to start Dallah Establishment in the early 1960s. By the early 1980s he established the AI Baraka Investment & Development conglomerate, a holding company for many Islamic banks and financial Institutions operating according to Islamic principles in various diversified business activities all over the world.
Kamel built an empire through his government contracting ventures in Saudi Arabia. Kamel owns a majority stake in Dallah Albaraka Group, a holding company that has various Islamic banking operations, with real estate, construction and manufacturing business segments.
Another example of a self-made man, Mohammed ‘Mo’ Ibrahim is putting his money to good effect in Africa, where he has set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index, to evaluate nations’ performance. Ibrahim is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School.
Ibrahim is a British Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire. He was born in north Sudan and started out working at the African country’s postal service. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Alexandria before going off to the UK to get his master’s degree and PhD, and ended up as an academic with a specialisation in mobile communications.
When British Telecommunications was about to launch the first mobile service in the UK the company invited him to come on board as a technical director and engineer. Ibrahim left his job with the support of his wife to become a consultant and eventually forming his own company with $50,000 in savings. With the help of 450 engineers the company designed networks around the world. He then sold his first company a few years later for about $1bn.