The Arabian Business magazine has named Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal the most powerful Arab in 2011. The Prince has been vocal in suggesting the need for political reform in the Arab World.
Billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has been named as the most powerful Arab in the 2011 “top 500 Arab personality” list published by the Arabian Business magazine. Alwaleed is also ranked as number 26 on the Forbes list of World’s Billionaires, with a net worth of $19.6 billion. He is the founder of the Kingdom Holding Investment Company, majority shareholder in Citigroup, second largest investor in Rupert Murdock’s News Corp., and owner of the Savoy Hotel.
In addition to making his name in the world of investment, Prince Alwaleed also famously established the humanitarian Alaweed bin Talal Foundation. He was awarded the 2010 “Man of the Year for humanitarian action” award by the ITP group.
Earlier this week the National announced that the Prince has joined forces with Bloomberg to produce a 24 hour Arab news station, Alarab. The channel will enter the arena of competition with Aljazeera and Al Alarbiya, but will focus primarily on political, financial and social issues within the Arab world.
With tumultuous events throughout the Middle East and North Africa this year the Prince has pertinently spoken out regarding the need for change in the Arab World. Writing in the New York Times earlier this year he said “Unless many Arab governments adopt radically different policies, their countries will very likely experience more political and civil unrest.” Speaking of “Political systems that have become outmoded and brittle” he called for reforms with more political participation and the empowerment of women.
Changes appear to be coming slowly in Saudi Arabia, with the recommendation that women be allowed to vote passed last week by the Shoura Council. The decision rests in the hands of King Abdullah, the uncle of Prince Alwaleed. Although women have so far had the right to drive rejected out of hand in the Kingdom, there are moves to allow them the right to train as pilots.