Home » Ten ultra-wealthy Tunisian tycoons you’ve never heard of

Ten ultra-wealthy Tunisian tycoons you’ve never heard of

by Omokolade Ajayi
Moncef Sellami

Tunisian businessmen have accumulated tremendous wealth over the years from key companies central to the local economy, as well as corporate entities actively operating abroad.

Unfortunately, these tycoons did not experience the same hike in their net worth this year as their Moroccan and Algerian counterparts, like Aziz Akhannouch, Othman Benjelloun and Issad Rebrab. The hope for a similar bump in their bank-account balance remains a dream for the years to come.

Recent figures from Forbes revealed that the North African country currently has no billionaires, which is understandable given the size of Tunisia’s economy. Its GDP was only $39 billion in 2020.

Despite the country’s poor representation in terms of individual wealth, local families control some of Tunisia’s most powerful companies. Here are some Tunisian multimillionaires who you’ve probably never heard of, but definitely should know.

1. Moncef El Materi 

The businessman is credited for founding one of Tunisia’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Al Adwya.

After leaving the Tunisian Army in 1973, Moncef El Materi devoted himself to creating several commercial and industrial enterprises. This led to his establishing Al Adwya in 1984 with his brother, Tahar. The brothers are equal shareholders in the company.

Alongside his brother, El Materi has grown the pharmaceutical company into a leader not only in Tunisia, but throughout the Maghreb region. The company specializes in the production of pharmaceutical goods for medical and veterinary use.

2. Ismail Mabrouk

Ismail Mabrouk is the chairman of the board of Saida Group, the largest agri-food group in Tunisia. The group produces biscuits, chocolates and cheeses. He is also the chairman of the board of the Arab International Bank of Tunisia.

Mabrouk was put in charge of growing his father’s business, Mabrouk Group, after his death.

Under his leadership, the group grew into a dominant player in the Tunisian economy in the agribusiness, automotive, mass distribution and finance sectors.

Aside from his oversight role within the group, Mabrouk manages several companies, including the Tunisian agri-food leader Saida Group.

Mabrouk derives his multimillion-dollar net worth from his stake in Mabrouk Group, BIAT and Societe Nouvelle Maison de la Ville de Tunis.

3. Ahmed Abdelkefi

Ahmed Abdelkefi is a Tunisian economist and businessman who founded Tuninvest Finance Group, one of the first companies specializing in capital investment fund management in Tunisia, with a focus on small and medium enterprises in Africa.

Abdelkefi launched his first leasing company in Tunisia in 1984. He founded Tuninvest Finance Group (TFG) 1994. The company maintains active operations in Morocco through Marocinvest and in Algeria through Maghrebinvest.

Outside the Maghreb, TFG operates through subsidiaries like Capital Partners Africinvest Saharan Africa, Fidelity in Ghana and Africa and Central CENAINVEST in other West African countries.

4. Tarek Bouchamaoui

Tarek Bouchamaoui is a Tunisian businessman and football personality.

Aside from his governance role in the Egyptian oil company HBS International, he holds a beneficial ownership stake in several companies and private equity funds, including HBG Holding, a holding company based in Tunisia.

In 2015, following his appointment with the FIFA Executive Committee, Swiss Leaks revealed that Bouchamaoui held more than €43 million ($50.4 million) in an HSBC bank account, Jeune Afrique reported.

5. Rached Horchani

Rached Horchani is the founder of Horchani Group, a Tunisia-based conglomerate with subsidiaries in the agriculture, hotel and real estate industries.

He is also on the board of BH Bank, Tunisie Leasing and Factoring S.A. and Horchani Bio Dattes.

Aside from his leadership role in the companies, Horchani is the second wealthiest investor on the Tunisian Stock Exchange.

Through direct investments and indirect stakes, he owns a beneficial stake in Banque Internationale Arabe de Tunisie, Amen Bank, Banque de l’habitat, Attijari Bank Tunisia and Wifack International Bank.

The joint market value of his shares in these companies is worth millions of dollars, making him one of the wealthiest businessmen in Tunisia.

6. Tarak Cherif

Tarak Cherif is a Tunisian businessman who founded Alliance Group in 1983. He serves as director and general manager of several companies operating in various sectors.

In 2011, Cherif founded the Confederation of Citizen Enterprises of Tunisia, which he chairs.

He is also the head of Alliance One Holding, a Tunisian business group created in 1947. It serves as a holding for 20 companies operating in the industry, export, agriculture and service sectors.

The group has six industrial units specialized in plastic packaging and the manufacturing of house and car paint, construction materials, chemicals and waterproofing and agricultural goods.

7. Nabil Triki

Nabil Triki is a Tunisian businessman who serves as managing partner and CEO of SPE Capital GP Limited, a spin-off of Swicorp, a leading investment bank in the Middle East and North Africa.

Triki heads a group of 11 companies with activities such as agri-food (Le Moulin), poultry farming (Chahia), furniture, textiles (MATEX) and construction. 

While at Swicorp, he launched a private equity fund managing over $1 billion and oversaw the deployment of more than $900 million in more than 20 transactions across the region.

In 2018, Triki bought a nearly 21-percent stake in Banque Zitouna from El Karama Holding, which he later sold in 2019 through Triki Group.

Triki’s turnover reached MAD243 million ($27 million) in 2014. At the time, it was the 18th largest private company in Tunisia.

8. Yahia Bayahi

Yahia Bayahi is chairman and CEO of Tunisie Profiles Aluminium S.A., a major aluminium producer and the chairman of Societe Tunisienne de Verreries, a hollow-glass manufacturer and Tunisia’s first agro-alimentary industry supplier.

Bayahi derives his multimillion-dollar net worth valuation from his 51.34-percent stake in Tunisie Profiles Aluminium SA and his 71.8-percent stake in Societe Tunisienne de Verreries. 

Aside from his role in these companies, Bayahi is on the board of Arab Tunisian Bank and Societe Magasin General S.A.

9. Walid Sultan Midani

Walid Sultan Midani, a 38-year-old Tunisian businessman, is the founder and CEO of Digital Mania Studio, the first video-game development studio in Tunisia.

In 2004, he co-founded the startup Tunisia Games, which organized the Electronic Sports Tunisian Cup from 2005 to 2009. 

Midani is also a co-founder of the Tunisian accelerator, Boost, and a co-director and co-founder of the Tunisian branch of the world’s largest startup launch program, The Founder Institute.

10. Moncef Sellami

The Tunisian businessman is the founder of One Tech Holding, a company engaged in providing engineering, design, production, installation and training solutions in the ICT industry.

Moncef Sellami founded One Tech Holding in 1978 and owns a 25.63-percent stake in the company, deriving his multimillion-dollar wealth valuation from his position in the firm.

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