Join the Middle East Initiative for a conversation with Naguib Sawiris, Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, on the current political and economic landscape in Egypt and the country’s role in a changing Middle East. This talk will be moderated by Dr. Shady ElGhazaly Harb MC/MPA 2023, with introductory remarks from MEI Faculty Chair Professor Tarek Masoud.


Since joining Orascom, the family business, in 1979, Mr. Naguib Sawiris has continuously contributed to the growth and diversification of the company into what it is today – one of Egypt’s largest and most diversified conglomerates and the country’s largest private sector employer. Mr. Sawiris established and built the railway, information technology, and telecommunications sectors of Orascom.

As the Founder of Orascom Telecom Holding (OTH), Mr. Sawiris has dynamically led the growth of the company, to be the leading regional telecom player having operated GSM networks in over 28 countries in Africa and the Middle East, including Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Iraq, Pakistan, Bangladesh and more than 15 countries in Africa. The company’s subscriber base reached up to 380 million people. OTH’s success story culminated in the much-publicized merger deal between Wind Telecom, the mother company of Orascom Telecom Holding, and VEON (formerly VimpelCom Ltd.) in April 2011. At the time, the merger created the world’s sixth largest mobile telecommunications provider by number of subscribers.

Today, he is Chairman of Orascom Investment Holding, a holding company with a diversified investment portfolio targeting high-growth sectors where it sees opportunities of transformation and community impact in Egypt and Africa.
Mr. Sawiris is the Chair of the Advisory Board of La Mancha Holding, the private natural resource investment vehicle of the Sawiris family group. La Mancha holds equity investments in Endeavour Mining, a West African gold producer focused on developing and operating high quality low-cost, long-life mines, Elemental Altus Royalties Corp., a mining royalty company generating a diversified and precious metal portfolio of assets focusing on Africa, Horizonte Minerals PLC, SRG Mining Inc., and G Mining Ventures Corp.
Mr. Sawiris is also Chairman of the Board of Ora Developers, a company undertaking high-end real estate developments built according to the highest international standards of quality and design, in various prime locations around the world, including Egypt, Cyprus, Pakistan, Grenada, and the UK. The company is also developing distinguished high-end hospitality projects by using the latest management models.

At international and regional levels, Mr. Sawiris served and is serving on several boards, committees, and councils, as:
- Member of the External Advisory Council of the Global Institute for Advanced Study at NYU
- Founding member of the London Stock Exchange’s Africa Advisory Group
- Member of both the Board of Trustees and the Board of Directors of the Arab Thought Foundation
- Vice-Chair of Sawiris Foundation for Social Development
- Former Member of the International Advisory Committee to the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)
- Former Board member of the International Advisory Board to the National Bank of Kuwait
- Former Member of the Board of Trustees of the French University in Egypt (UFE)

He is also the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, industry awards and civic honors, including an Honorary Doctorate of Law conferred upon him by Handong Global University of South Korea in 2021, the Honor of Commander of the “Legion d’Honneur” (the highest award given by the French Republic for outstanding services rendered to France) conferred upon him in 2012. In July 2011, Mr. Sawiris was awarded the Honor of Commander of the Order of the “Stella della Solidarietà Italiana” (Star of Italian Solidarity) for his outstanding contribution to the Italian economy through the investments he led in Italy. In 2006, the prestigious “Sitara-e-Quaid-e-Azam” award was conferred upon him by General Pervez Musharref for services rendered to the people of Pakistan in the field of telecommunication, investments, and social sector work.

Mr. Sawiris holds a diploma of Mechanical Engineering with a Masters in Technical Administration from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zürich) and a Diploma from the German Evangelical School, Cairo, Egypt. He is fluent in Arabic, English, and German, and has a fair knowledge of French.