Saudi Arabia, known for its vast oil reserves and strategic geopolitical importance, has emerged as a powerhouse in the Middle East. With a thriving economy, the kingdom has produced a cadre of influential individuals in various sectors, particularly industry and finance. In this article, we shine a spotlight on the top five wealthiest individuals in Saudi Arabia – Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud, Mohammed Hussein Ali Al’-Amoudi, Suktan bin Mohammed Al Kabeer, Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber, and Sheik Suilaimin bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi. Individuals whose contributions have not only shaped the economic landscape of the kingdom but have also left an indelible mark on its history.
List of the Wealthiest People in Saudi Arabia
Al Waleed bin Talal Al Saud is a prominent Saudi Arabian billionaire known for his roles as a businessman, investor, philanthropist, and member of the royal family. Recognized for his influence, he earned a place on Time magazine’s Time 100 list in 2008. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal is a high-profile investor with significant holdings in both private and public companies across the United States, Europe, and the Middle East. His investment vehicle, Kingdom Holding Co., of which 5% is publicly traded on the Saudi Stock Exchange (he reportedly owns the remaining 95%), encompasses diverse assets. These include stakes in companies such as ride-sharing giant Lyft, social media platform Twitter, financial institution Citigroup, luxury hotel management company Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, the prestigious Hotel George V in Paris, and the iconic Savoy Hotel in London.
Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoudi is an Ethiopian billionaire businessman born in Ethiopia in 1946 to a Yemeni father from Hadhramaut and an Ethiopian mother in the Amhara Region. Mohammed Al Amoudi, whose heritage is a combination of Saudi and Ethiopian roots, has built an extensive portfolio comprising construction, agriculture, and energy companies spanning Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia. His initial wealth was amassed through construction ventures in Saudi Arabia. Among his notable assets is the oil refining company Preem, touted as the largest fuel company in Sweden. In Ethiopia, Al-‘Amoudi has directed investments towards agriculture, cement production, and gold mining.
Sultan bin Mohammed Al Kabeer, a Saudi prince and entrepreneur, played a pivotal role in co-founding Almarai, recognized as the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy foods company. As the great-nephew of King Abdulaziz and the grandson of the King’s sister, Noura bint Abdul Rahman, Prince Sultan holds a prominent position within the Saudi royal family. However, Forbes decided to exclude Al Kabeer from their billionaires list in March 2018, citing a lack of clarity regarding his current asset ownership.
In November 2017, the Saudi government carried out detentions of approximately 200 businessmen and royals at the Ritz-Carlton hotel in Riyadh on charges related to corruption, although the specifics were not disclosed. While it remains uncertain whether Al Kabeer himself was detained, reports were indicating the detention of his sons during this period.
Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber possesses a portfolio of upscale and affordable hotels across Europe and Egypt under JJW Hotels & Resorts. In December 2011, he resolved a dispute with Standard Bank in London, where the bank had alleged his failure to repay a $150 million loan. Al Jaber countered, asserting that the bank engaged in an unauthorized loan arrangement with his assistant to offset trading losses.
In addition to his business ventures, Al Jaber serves as a UNESCO special envoy. Through his foundation, he has spearheaded efforts to garner support for the restoration of Mali’s cultural heritage. This initiative focuses on rebuilding mosques and preserving ancient Muslim manuscripts that were destroyed by militant Islamists in the preceding year.
Sheikh Sulaiman bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi, a prominent Saudi Arabian business figure and billionaire, held an estimated wealth of $7.7 billion in 2011, ranking him as the 120th richest individual globally, according to Forbes.
In recognition of his significant philanthropic contributions, Al Rajhi was honored with the 2012 King Faisal International Prize. This accolade was bestowed upon him for dedicating half of his fortune to charitable endeavors, establishing an Islamic bank, supporting charitable initiatives, and contributing to effective national projects. The Al Rajhi family is widely regarded in Saudi Arabia as the wealthiest non-royal family and is recognized globally as a leading force in philanthropy.
He demonstrated his commitment to education and community welfare by founding the Sulaiman Al Rajhi University in his hometown. As a non-profit institution, the university prioritizes health and Islamic banking education, encompassing various other faculties. In a noteworthy announcement in May 2011, Al Rajhi revealed his intention to donate the majority of his $7.7 billion fortune to charitable causes.