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Onsi Sawiris - The Richest man in Africa

Last Updated: 1/17/2010 1:50:47 PM

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Meet Africa's richest man and he didn't have to be a Head of State to get there.....

Egyptian business magnate Onsi Sawiris and Africa's richest man.
Egyptian business magnate Onsi Sawiris and Africa's richest man.

Of course we have all heard of the vast fortunes stolen form their countries by the likes of Sani Abacha, Mobutu Sese-Seko and other of Africa’s less illustrious sons. We are inundated with tales of massive corruption and blatant greed from across Africa, what we don’t hear enough of those who are the entrepreneurs, the commercial magnates, and the titans of industry.

Well the ClickAfrique team has decided to do just that and we profile Onsi Sawiris who is widely believed to be the richest business magnate in Africa.

Born 76 years ago in the Sohag a predominately Coptic city in Upper Egypt halfway between Aswan and Cairo, Sawiris enjoyed an early life typical of the Upper Egyptian gentry that his family was part of, later on heading off to University where he received a degree designed to prepare him for managing the family’s land holdings. Working on the land however did not appeal to the young Sawiris and instead in turned his mind to construction, setting up a contracting firm, which operated initially in Upper Egypt but later on, moved its operations to Cairo and the delta provinces.

His firm enjoyed a lot of success and benefited from the patronage of the Egyptian government, which meant by the 60’s it had grown into one of the largest construction firms in Egypt. The 60’s however were turbulent times for the country and Sawiris found his firm swept up in the nationalisation fever that swept the country under the leadership of Gamal Abdel Nasser.

Sawiris was forced to work as employee of his now nationalised firm for five years; eventually he was forced to leave Egypt as the situation deteriorated. Sawiris and his family set up in Libya where they lived from 1966 to 1977; there Sawiris was able to rebuild his fortune using his construction expertise to build water works and other construction project for the oil-rich nation.

On return to Egypt, Sawiris began rebuilding his Egyptian operations, taking on complex projects through out Egypt either as the lead contractor or in conjunction with international construction firms. So successful was this growth phase that Sawiris was able to take his firm public in 1999 on the Cairo Stock Exchange. This was also the period that saw the beginning of a greater involvement for his sons, Naguib, Sameeh and Naseef in the business.

Since then the company has expanded into a conglomerate spanning construction, cement, telecommunications, and tourism and operates across the world.

Two companies that have been spawned from the Sawiris’s original business Orascom Telecom and Orascom Construction Industry rate amongst the largest companies in the world. Sawiris will certainly be proud of his success as Forbes Magazine hailed him amongst the riches men in the world with a fortune of $4.8 Billion ranking him as the 129th richest man in the world.


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Comment By: Darcybillionaire

I'm very pround of this Africa man,once again he proves that you do not need to be outside the African continent to be very succesfull.
It's all about the way you think"mentality" and how much hard work are you willing to put in your dream.

Posted On: Monday, November 24, 2008 7:14 PM

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Posted On: Monday, February 09, 2009 2:53 PM

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Posted On: Friday, February 27, 2009 9:48 PM

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