The last 12 months has been a period of challenge, uncertainty and change for many from the Arab region. But despite, economic, political and social headwinds the 100 individuals on our 100 Powerful Arabs list were able to maintain their power and influence, and in some cases stand taller than ever before. Read on to find out which business leaders, models, megastar musicians, inspirational women and athletes stood out from the crowd in 2016 and are in good stead to continue making waves in 2017. For the sixth year running Gulf Business counts down the most powerful Arabs from across the world.

How we did it

This year’s Arab Power List was selected by our team of leading business editors at Gulf Business. We took an in-depth look at the movements of those who had made their mark in the Arab world during 2016, using our broad knowledge base to promote, demote or consolidate existing entrants’ positions, as well as to identify and assess potential new entries that have emerged throughout the year. The ‘power 100’ format reflects the sheer number of people from the Arab world making an impact.

As in previous years, everyone in our ranking was weighted under the following criteria:

Financial capital

Human capital

Expansion plans

Personal fame

In general, politicians and royal family members were excluded unless they had an unassailable leaning towards corporate activity.

The resulting list is intended to be an inspirational representation of some of the Arab World’s greatest businesspeople, influencers, thinkers, achievers and future stars.

We trust this list will incite vigorous discussion and we look forward to your feedback.

1HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud ChairmanKSAKingdom Holding CompanyFinance
2HH Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum ChairmanUAEEmirates/Emirates NBDDiversified
3HE Khalid Al Falih ChairmanKSAAramcoEnergy
4Joseph Safra ChairmanSyriaSafra GroupFinance
5Yousef Abdullah Al Benyan Vice Chairman and CEOKSASABICIndustry
6Carlos Slim Helu Honorary ChairmanLebanonAmerica MovilTelecoms
7Carlos Ghosn Chairman/CEOLebanonNissan/Renault/MitsubushiIndustry
8HE Mohamed Alabbar ChairmanUAEEmaarReal Estate
9HE Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak CEOUAEMubadala InvestmentDiversified
10HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair CEOUAEMashreqFinance
11HE Mohammad Al Gergawi ChairmanUAEDubai HoldingDiversified
12Saad Sherida Al Kaabi President and CEO/MD and ChairmanQatarQatar Petroleum/Industries QatarDiversified
13HE Dr Sultan Al Jaber Director General and CEO/ChairmanUAEADNOC/MasdarEnergy
14Akbar Al Baker CEOQatarQatar AirwaysAviation
15HE Noura Al Kaabi ChairwomanUAEtwofour54Media
16Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber Chairman and CEOKSAMBI InternationalDiversified
17Nasser Al Khelaifi Chairman and CEO/Chairman/PresidentQatarBein Media Group/Qatar Sports Investment/Paris Saint-GermainMedia/Sport
18HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qasimi Minister of International Cooperation and Development, UAE/PresidentUAEZayed UniversityDiversified
19Mansour Saleh Al Maiman ChairmanKSANational Commercial Bank, NCB CapitalFinance
20Lubna Olayan Deputy Chairperson and CEOKSAOlayan Financing CompanyFinance
21HE Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani CEOUAEInvestment Corporation of DubaiFinance
22HE Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed Bin Saud Al Thani CEOQatarQatar Investment AuthorityFinance
23DJ Khaled Rap Artist and Record ProducerPalestineCulture and Society
24HE Ali Shareef Al Emadi Minister of Finance/ChairmanQatarQatar/QNBFinance
25Sheikh Sulaiman Bin Abdulaziz Al Rajhi Co-founderKSAAl Rajhi BankFinance
26Mohamed Mansour ChairmanEgyptMansour GroupDiversified
27Mohammed Bin Abdulmalik Al Sheikh ChairmanKSASaudi Capital Market AuthorityFinance
28HH Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser ChairwomanQatarQatar FoundationCulture and Society
29HE DR Raja Easa Al Gurg MDUAEEasa Saleh Al Gurg GroupDiversified
30Mohammed Al Barwani ChairmanOmanMB HoldingEnergy
31Khalaf Al Habtoor ChairmanUAEAl Habtoor GroupReal Estate
32Riyad Mahrez FootballerAlgeria-FranceLeicester City FCSport
33Mohammed Alshaya Executive ChairmanKuwaitMH AlshayaRetail
34Majid Al Futtaim FounderUAEMajid Al FuttaimDiversified
35Zainab Salbi Activist and Media PersonalityIraqCulture and Society
36Omar K Alghanim CEOKuwaitAlghanim IndustriesDiversified
37HH Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Kabeer Co-founder and ChairmanKSAAlmaraiFMCG
38HE Reem Al Hashimy UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, Director GeneralUAEDubai Expo 2020 BureauDiversified
39HE Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem ChairmanUAEDP WorldLogistics
40HE Sheikh Saud Bin Nasser Al Thani Group CEOQatarOoredooTelecoms
41Khaled bin Hussain Biyari CEOKSASaudi Telecom CompanyTelecoms
42HE Sheikha Mayassa Bint Al Thani ChairwomanQatarQatar Museums AuthorityCulture and Society
43Mahmood Hashim Al Kooheji CEOBahrainMumtalakatFinance
44Rami Malek ActorEgypt-USCulture and Society
45HE Sheikh Saleh Kamel Founder and ChairmanKSADallah AlbarakaFinance
46HE Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak Chairman/Authority and CEOUAEAbu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority/Aldar PropertiesDiversified
47HE Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi Director GeneralUAEUAE Space AgencyTechnology
48Fadi Ghandour Co-founder and Executive ChairmanJordanWamda CapitalFinance
49Dr Mona Hanna-Attisha Doctor and ActivistIraq-UKCulture and Society
50Bader Al Kharafi DirectorKuwaitMA Al Kharafi & SonsDiversified
51Mohammed Al Amoudi OwnerKSA-EthiopiaMIDROCDiversified
52Ali Ahmed Al Kuwari CEOQatarQatar National BankFinance
53Huda Kattan FounderIraq-USHuda BeautyCulture and Society
54Saleh Al Abdooli CEOUAEEtisalat GroupTelecoms
55Hassan Abdullah Al Thawadi Secretary GeneralQatarQatar 2022Sport
56Nayla Hayek Chairwoman/CEOLebanon-SwitzerlandSwatch Group/Harry Winston IncRetail
57HE Essa Kazim Chairman/CEO/GovenorUAEDubai Financial Markets/Borse Dubai/DIFCFinance
58Dalia Mogahed Director of ResearchEgyptInstitute for Social Policy and UnderstandingCulture and Society
59Hussain Sajwani CEO and Executive ChairmanUAEDAMACReal Estate
60Ala’a Eraiqat CEOUAEADCBFinance
61Bassem Youssef Satirist and JournalistEgyptMedia
62Mishal Kanoo ChairmanBahrain-UAEThe Kanoo GroupDiversified
63Ali Rashid Lootah ChairmanUAENakheelReal Estate
64Noor Tagouri Journalist and BloggerLibya-USMedia
65Mohammed Bin Mahfoodh Alardhi Executive Chairman/ChairmanOmanInvestcorp/ National Bank of OmanFinance
66Nassef Sawiris CEOEgyptOCIIndustry
67Khaled Bin Saleh Al Mudaifer CEO and PresidentKSASaudi Arabian Mining Company (Ma’aden)Industry
68Munib Al Masri ChairmanPalestineEdgo GroupDiversified
69HE Hamad Buamim President and CEOUAEDubai Chamber of CommerceDiversified
70Mazin Al Nahedh Group CEOKuwaitKuwait Finance HouseFinance
71Issad Rebrab CEOAlgeriaCevitalDiversified
72Gigi Hadid ModelPalestine-USCulture and society
73Mohamed Al Hammadi CEOUAEEmirates Nuclear Energy CorporationEnergy
74Badr Jafar CEOUAE-IraqCrescent EnterprisesDiversified
75Omar Abdulrahman UAE National FootballerUAESport
76Suhail Salim Bahwan ChairmanOmanSuhail Bahwan Group Holding GroupDiversified
77Dr Amina Rustamani Group CEOUAETecom GroupDiversified
78Osman Sultan CEOLebanonduTelecoms
79Ronaldo Mouchawar CEOSyriaSouq.comRetail/Technology
80Othman Benjelloun President and CEOMoroccoBMC BankFinance
81Maher Zain SingerLebanon-SwedenCulture and Society
82Elie Saab Fashion DesignerLebanonCulture and Society
83Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi Social Commentator and FounderUAEBarjeel Art FoundationCulture and Society
84Yusra Mardini Olympic swimmerSyriaCulture and Society
85Maha Al Ghunaim Vice Chairperson and Group CEOKuwaitGlobal Investment HouseFinance
86Nancy Ajram SingerLebanonCulture and Society
87Saif Al Aleeli CEOUAEDubai Future FoundationTechnology
88Mohammad Abu Ghazaleh Chairman and CEOPalestine-USFresh Del MonteFood
89HE Fatima Al Jaber COOUAEAl Jaber GroupDiversified
90Shaikha Al Bahar Deputy Group CEOKuwaitNational Bank of KuwaitFinance
91Issam Kazim CEOUAEDubai Corporation for Tourism and Commerce MarketingTourism
92Raed Kajoor Al Nuaimi CEOUAEDXB EntertainmentsTourism
93Salwa Idrissi Akhannouch Founder and CEOMoroccoAksal GroupRetail
94Hala Gorani News AnchorSyriaCNNMedia
95Hoda Kotb TV Show HostEgypt-USNBCMedia
96Mustafa Agha Head of SportsSyriaMBCSport/Media
97Mona Eltahawy Journalist/CommentatorEgyptMedia
98Muna Abu Sulayman EntrepreneurKSACulture and Society
99Bakr Bin Laden ChairmanKSASaudi Binladin GroupConstruction
100Majed Al-Esa Music DirectorKSACulture and Society