The world's 50 most powerful Arabs

In a special report, Arabian Business highlights the world’s 50 most powerful Arabs.

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By  Anil Bhoyrul Published  February 6, 2005

The Power Zone|~||~||~|In a special report, Arabian Business highlights the world’s 50 most powerful Arabs. POWER. One simple word, with several connotations: authority; control; influence; supremacy; rule; command; dominance. It is something desired by many, though in truth, real power is held by few. And this week, for the first time ever, Arabian Business reveals just who those few are, as we countdown the world’s 50 most powerful Arabs. Measuring “power” is no easy task. During the last six months, we have carefully compiled a list of the best-known Arabs, the wealthiest, the most influential — and more importantly, some of the lesser-known names that still wield considerable influence on the global stage. In compiling this list, we have looked at all the connotations of power mentioned above, and analysed exactly which individuals hold the most. This has been done as scientifically as possible. In business, we have looked at the global reach of companies, including the amount of funds controlled, and the number of employees. The greater the influence, the greater the power. But of course, power stretches far beyond just business people. We have also examined the influence of Arabs in research and science, in the arts, in music, film and media. Again, this has been done on a relative scale. In media, for example, we have looked at the total audience figures for television broadcasters, in an attempt to evaluate the most influential. In the world of music, we have considered who the best selling artists are, and measured their degree of influence. The same methodology has been applied to other fields, including influential professors and poets. Our initial list of influential Arabs was over 200 strong. To narrow it down for business leaders, we used a credit scoring system, whereby so-called power credits were given depending on the number of employees and turnover of a company. Against this, we also considered other fields, such as music, the arts, science and academics. Once again, we have evaluated the total reach of individuals in each field, such as the total number of records sold by an artist. So just who is in the Power 50? Our first ever power list is not surprisingly dominated by business people, who make up 27 of the 50 places. The rest of the list is a cocktail of influence from a variety of fields: four are journalists, three are academics, three are poets and two bankers. The rest are filmakers, scientists, singers and arms dealers. The Power List does not include royalty or politicians. We felt that to do so would merely produce a list of heads of states. However, we have chosen to include Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed purely on the basis of his business interests. Top of our list is Kuwaiti tycoon Nasser Al Kharafi, who last year was also voted Businessman of the Year in the Arabian Business Awards. Whether it is engineering, construction, maintenance, water, leisure or petroleum, Al Kharafi is involved somewhere along the line. But surprisingly, business leaders far from dominate the top 10. In fifth place is the Palestinian philanthropist and political advisor Hasib Sabbagh, arguably one of the most influential Palestinians in the world. At number nine is the Egyptian filmmaker Youssef Chahine, who’s movies have achieved worldwide recognition. The world’s most powerful Arab scientist enters our list at No.12 — Dr Nagwa Abdel Meguid has been involved in ground-breaking clinical research at the Egyptian National Research Centre in Cairo. In compiling this list, we naturally considered the influence of terrorists such as Osama Bin Laden. There is no hiding from the fact that the likes of Bin Laden are still highly influential. We have, out of respect to the other members of the Power 50, compiled a separate list — the “Fearsome Five” — our guide to the five most powerful Arab terrorists in the world. For the full listing of the 50 most powerful Arabs and to see who tops the Power 50, buy Arabian Business. On newsstands from February 6, 2005.||**||

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