Net Worth: $9 billion
Residents of Addis Ababa say Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi can often be seen cruising Ethiopia’s capital in a Hummer, the large vehicle favored by the likes of rap stars and California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Amoudi is one of the wealthiest businessmen with origins in East Africa and was ranked this year by Forbes as the 43rd richest person in the world, with a net worth estimated at $9bn.
An avid football fan and music lover, he was born to an Ethiopian mother and an Arab father, and made his money mainly in Saudi Arabia and Scandinavia, later securing Saudi citizenship.
He made his first fortune in Saudi property and construction, but then diversified, moving chiefly into oil, but also mining and coffee, leather goods and tourism.
Amoudi’s business empire centers on the Midroc Global Group, a conglomerate that employs 24,000 people on four continents and has an annual turnover of more than $15bn, according to the 2008 annual report of Midroc Europe, one of its subsidiaries.
After becoming wealthy outside Ethiopia, Amoudi, according to his associates, has now gone into business in his home country – not to make money, but to promote the economic and social development.
It is also the place where his desire to keep a low profile disappears – and not only because of the Hummer sightings.
One report posted on the Midroc Ethiopia web site discusses Amoudi’s philanthropic acts, including his backing of the national football team. As well as having leased vast tracts of land for commercial farming, he also owns the Sheraton hotel, and the Legadembi gold mine, which is producing roughly 3.5 tonnes of fine gold a year, according to Midroc.
Amoudi is close to the ruling regime and part-funded Ethiopia’s millennium celebrations in September 2007 – the country follows a Julian calendar seven years behind the rest of the world. For many middle-class Ethiopians, the highlight of the night was a gig played in a giant Amoudi-funded concert hall by another set of sometime Hummer drivers: US hip-hop group the Black Eyed Peas.