Mohammed Al-‘Amoudi

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Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoudi born 21 July, 1946 is an Ethiopian and Saudi Arabian billionaire businessman.  In 2016, his net worth was estimated by Forbes at approximately $10.9 billion and a relative fall in net value was linked to the global fall in oil and gold prices at the time of estimation. He was also listed as Ethiopia’s richest man, the second richest Saudi Arabian citizen in the world and the second richest black person in the world. Al Amoudi made his fortune in construction and real estate before branching out to buy oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco. He is the largest individual foreign investor in Ethiopia and a major investor in Sweden.As at March 2017, his net worth was estimated at $8.1 billion according to Forbes.

Al Amoudi was born in the north-central Ethiopian city of Dessie and brought up in Woldia, 120km Northern of Dessie, in July 21, 1946.  He was born to a Saudi father of Hadhrami Yemeni origin and an Ethiopian mother. He grew up in Ethiopia, before emigrating to Saudi Arabia at the age of 19 with his brother Mauricet and becoming a Saudi Arabian citizen.Al-Amoudi was quick to build a personal relationship with the Kingdom’s ruling family in Saudi Arabia. As a result, in 1988 he won a life changing contract to build the Saudi government’s $30 billion nationwide underground oil storage complex. With this contract, his fortune was established and instantly made him a billionaire.

Al-Amoudi eventually returned back home to Ethiopia in the mid-1980s and founded Mohammed International Development Research and Organization Companies (MIDROC), a diversified holding company which he used to take over gold mines from the government at a fraction of their real market value. Today, MIDROC Gold is Ethiopia’s exclusive gold exporter.

He has gold mining interests in Ethiopia and it is reported that MIDROC Gold Mine (a subsidiary of MIDROC Ethiopia) has paid the Ethiopian Government 100.1 million birr in royalties, the largest contribution of any mining company. Its Legedenbi mine has a yearly average production of around 5,000Kg of gold and silver.

Al Amoudi owns a broad portfolio of businesses in construction, energy, agriculture, mining, hotels, healthcare and manufacturing amongst others. His businesses are largely to be found within two conglomerate holding and operating companies, Corral Petroleum Holdings and MIDROC, both which he owns and manages. He employs over 70,000 people through these companies.

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He owns 70% of National Oil Ethiopia, which competes with YBF, TAF OIL and five other companies in the national petrol market and he’s establishing a steel plant (Tossa) in Amhara. This latter is Ethiopia’s first industrial steel production plant and its intended to meet a major increase in domestic demand, estimated to rise from 1.2m tonnes to 3.1m tonnes per annum between 2011 and 2014. In February 2011, Al Amoudi acquired 69% of Ethiopia’s sole tyre manufacturer Addis Tyre and he has a substantial investment in cement production through Durba Midroc which was founded in 2008. His major cement plant near Chancho was backed in part by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation.  In July 2011, it was announced that the Ethiopian Electric Power Company [EEPco] would provide the Derba cement plant with 50MW of electricity. The Al Amoudi-owned Saudi Star Agricultural Development Plc plans to develop up to 1,200,000 acres of Ethiopian land for sugar, edible oil, and grain production.  In March 2011, Saudi Star announced a further investment of $2.5 billion in Ethiopian rice projects

In August 2011, President Girma Wolde-Giorgis of Ethiopia stated that “a substantial investment in agricultural development was key to improving the quality of life across Africa” and that Saudi Star’s investment programme would benefit both Ethiopia and its important trading partner, Saudi Arabia.

Al Amoudi also owns land used to produce coffee. Of the 2,295 hectares (5,670 acres) of land acquired by Ethio Agri-CEFT (which he owns) in the Sheka Zone of Ethiopia, it has only covered 1,010 hectares with coffee and shade trees, with the rest remaining as natural vegetation.  In 2011, he donated 10 million birr (US$500k) to the proposed Ethiopian National Coffee Museum in Ethiopia’s Kaffa Zone.

In September 2011, in response to an appeal from Prime Minister Meles Zenawi for popular support for the financing of the Renaissance Dam in North West Ethiopia which will triple the country’s hydro-electric power, Al Amoudi pledged a donation of 1.5bn birr (around US$88m) In addition to his business interests in Ethiopia, he also owns oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden (Svenska Petroleum Exploration AB) and is engaged in energy exploration and production off West Africa and elsewhere.The bulk of the Sheikh’s business success has also been built around Sweden. In 1994, Al Amoudi spent $750 million in acquiring Sweden’s largest integrated energy company, OK Petroleum, and subsequently renamed the company Preem Petroleum. He invested heavily in extending the capacity of its refineries, substantially increasing the number of its gas service stations around the country and acquiring deeper offshore assets.

In 1999, Al-Amoudi’s Swedish-registered investment company, Corral, acquired a controlling interest in two Moroccan oil refining companies- Samir and SCP. Al-Amoudi merged the two companies and further invested half a billion dollars in modernizing the plant. Today, Corral is the undisputed market leader in Morocco’s Energy sector, both in distribution and refining.

Al-Amoudi decided to extend his recognition to real estate. His Addis Ababa Sheraton is said to be among the finest hotels in Africa ,which is the country’s foremost 5-star hotel..

He has recently pledged US$275 million alongside other Saudi and South Korean investors through MIDROC to finance a factory to build Saudi Arabia’s first car, to be called Gazal-1, in a project initiated by King Saud University and, in September 2011, it was announced that he planned to invest around US$1.07bn (4bn Saudi Riyals) in two major Saudi industrial projects (phosphate derivatives and sulfur) in Ras Al Khair [Eastern Region] and Jubail Industrial City respectively. As much as his commitment to several business sectors, Al-Amoudi has increasingly dedicated himself to philanthropic initiatives.  Al Amoudi has committed funds to support healthcare and sport in Saudi Arabia, the US, Europe and Africa.  He funded a breast cancer research centre at King Abdulaziz University.

In 2008, Al Amoudi funded King Saud University’s an enhanced oil recovery research chair.  He also fully funded the King Abdullah Institute for Nanotechnology at King Saud University.

Al Amoudi was named as one of the William J. Clinton Foundation Donors, according to information released as part of an obligation placed on former President Clinton when he supported Hillary Clinton’s nomination as Secretary of State. He is reported to have donated between US$5m and US$10m to the foundation.

Al Amoudi sponsored the CECAFA Cup, Africa’s oldest football cup competition, in 2005 and 2006, the tournament was named the Al Amoudi Senior Challenge Cup as a result in those years. He also supports Ethiopian Premier League Club St. George and covered the medical expenses of one of Ethiopia’s most celebrated footballers, Mengistu Worku, before his death in December 2010. In 2011, he pledged 100 million Ethiopian birr for a stadium and access road in Mek’ele. In January 2017, The Sheikh Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-Amoudi Stadium was opened in his birth town of Woldia.. The Stadium reportedly cost more than $22 million and it took four and a half years to complete.

Several honours has rolled out to his personality as a business man and philanthropist.  Al Amoudi has been ranked among the 100 richest people by Forbes since 2006, being ranking 82nd on the list in 2015.  He was awarded an honorary doctorate from Addis Ababa University and has been honoured with the Order of the Polar Star by King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden.

Al Amoudi was honoured for his achievements in economics and philanthropy at the 19th Arab Economic Forum Summit in 2011, with special reference to his commitment to sustainable development.