As the world’s most powerful Arab, the Prince’s influence pervades global finance, real estate, politics, media, health, education and philanthropy.

With an estimated personal wealth of over $27 billion – up from around $23 billion last year – the founder and chairman of Kingdom Holding doubled his firm’s share price in 2012. Under the umbrella of Kingdom Holding, Prince Alwaleed has acquired increasingly shrewd investments over time.

He set up his company in 1979 and, today, the Prince owns stakes in Citibank, Movenpick Hotels, Walt Disney, Apple Inc, News Corp, Twitter and PepsiCo, among others. 2012 was a busy one for Prince Alwaleed. He set the wheels in motion for the launch of the new Arab TV channel, Alarab. The Prince is also busy working on Kingdom Tower over a five-year period – which is set to be the tallest building in the world when finished.

But the Prince tells Gulf Business that he is happiest when masterminding philanthropic initiatives with his wife Princess Ameerah. The Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation is a global charity that touches numerous lives with health, education and emergency assistance initiatives.