Naguib Sawiris is an Egyptian billionaire known for his monumental achievements in the telecom sector, setting waves across the Middle East and Africa.

Early Life:

Born in 1954 in Cairo, Naguib Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family. Raised amidst the trappings of wealth, Sawiris was exposed early on to the dynamics of the business world, watching his father, Onsi Sawiris, establish a construction and contracting empire. Naguib’s academic pursuits led him to Zurich, where he obtained a diploma in Mechanical Engineering and later, a Master’s in Technical Administration.

The Line that Connected Millions:

While the Sawiris name was already synonymous with construction, it was Naguib’s foray into the telecom sector that skyrocketed the family’s fortunes. In 1998, he established Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), which became a beacon of connectivity in the region. Capitalizing on underserved markets, OTH became the leading regional telecom player, establishing footholds in multiple countries across Africa and Asia.

Major Achievements:

  • Founder and leader of Orascom Telecom Holding, which became a telecom juggernaut in the Middle East and Africa.
  • Played a pivotal role in introducing mobile services to North Korea.
  • Ventured into media with assets like ONTV, pushing for liberal and secular content in Egypt.
  • Branching beyond telecom, Sawiris has made significant investments in infrastructure, real estate, and financial services.


Like any business magnate, Sawiris faced his fair share of controversies. In the wake of the Arab Spring, he faced criticism for certain political stances and tweets that ruffled feathers both domestically and internationally. However, his ability to navigate these challenges showcased his resilience and commitment to his ventures and beliefs.

Legacy/Current Status:

Sawiris’s impact isn’t just limited to the telecom space. His endeavors have contributed significantly to Egypt’s modern business landscape. While he has handed the reins of Orascom to the next generation, Sawiris remains active in various sectors, particularly in the realms of media and politics.

Quick Facts:

  • Net Worth: $3 billion (as of 2022)
  • Key Companies: Orascom Telecom, Orascom Construction, ONTV
  • Notable Quote: “If you’re not ambitious, you’re dead.”
  • Did You Know?: Sawiris once proposed buying an island from Greece or Italy to house refugees, demonstrating his commitment to addressing global crises.


Naguib Sawiris’s journey from the heart of Cairo to the pinnacle of the global telecom industry offers a testament to the power of vision, resilience, and innovation. In an ever-evolving world, one wonders what waves Sawiris will make next.

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