Who is the Egyptian billionaire who criticized Dbiebah? What’s his relationship to Libya?

A tweet by Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris sparked a wave of reactions on social, after Sawiris criticized the unity government’s Prime Minister Abdel Hamid Dabaiba’s clinging to power, saying: “History will remember that Dabaiba stood in the way of the stability of his country for his personal interest… He preferred the position over the interest of Libya”.

He said that what prompted him to talk about the Libyan issue is the love of Libya and not for any other motive, indicating that he does not have any activity in Libya and will not work in it until it gets rid of the militias and returns to stability.

But who is Naguib Sawiris?

Born in June 1955, Naguib is one of the sons of the late Egyptian businessman Onsi Sawiris, who, along with his brothers Nassef and Samih, constituted one of the richest and most prominent Egyptian families in internal investment activity, and the first on the African level, with a fortune exceeding 14 billion dollars, and despite the three brothers working as the heads of multiple companies. The activity of the family-owned Orascom Group, Naguib remained the most present and the most contributing to supporting internal development in Egypt in its investment and charitable aspects, as he maintained his investments and expanded his business circle at a time when Egypt was going through security and economic challenges that threatened the escape of money owners.

Naguib managed Orascom Telecom and Orascom Technology, invested in the Egyptian media and contributed to enriching artistic and cultural life in Egypt through the El Gouna Film Festival, which he supervises in partnership with his family, in an attempt to improve Egypt’s foreign image and instill confidence in foreign capital, in addition to his strong support for Egyptian government policies directed to support the economy and improve the level of income, after he topped the list of Egyptian businessmen who donated the most to the “Long Live Egypt” fund by about 3 billion Egyptian pounds. Orascom Group is the largest and most diversified private sector institution in Egypt, and it also has the largest share of capital in the Cairo and Alexandria stock exchanges.

Naguib Sawiris: “Long live Libya”

He and his family’s connection to the Libyan issue was not new. Libya opened its arms to his late father, Onsi Sawiris, following the nationalization of the “Onsi and Lami” company owned and operated by the latter in 1961, with the Egyptian regime led by the late leader Gamal Abdel Nasser heading towards socialism and its nationalization of many private sector companies, where the nationalization event represented a severe blow to the family, which lost its capital and assets, and made it turn into public ownership. In 1966, Sawiris the father headed to Libya, which was experiencing a construction and development boom with the discovery of oil and the openness to private capital during the royal era, where he reshaped his wealth and won contracts in real estate, taking advantage of his experience in this type of business, so that Libya remains the country of the diaspora, which has the credit for restoring Sawiris to the forefront of the economic scene.

In the mid-seventies, Sawiris returned to Egypt after the socialist mentality was dissolved in Libya, which began to mimic what Egypt experienced through the policy of nationalization and restrictions on private capital. In Libya, with the establishment of Orascom General Contracting and Trade, which later expanded to include real estate, tourism and technology activities, and due to the Egyptian government policy in support of the private sector over the years, it became the largest Egyptian company.

A landmark Libyan station in the history of the family, for the wealthy Coptic family, Libya was not just an arena for work and capital development, but was a country of immigration and residence for about 10 years, during which Libya witnessed an urban renaissance and accelerated development with the multiplicity of Western communities that formed a unique coexistence model in the region. A distinguished place to attract capital and support rising ambition, before its compass deviated in the mid-seventies, an experience that made its mark on the family, which has always considered Libya a main starting point for its economic activity, and made Sawiris involvement in Libyan affairs palatable, supported by the neighborhood relationship and the strategic depth that it nourishes – with interwoven social relations between the two countries.

Love for Libya, not for another motive

Perhaps Naguib Sawiris’ involvement in the Libyan issue was not only political. The man, like all Libyans, tested the propaganda aura made by Dabaiba since he took over as prime minister, which was based mainly on the illusion of launching a package of projects under the title “Returning Life,” so that everyone discovered that the wheel of development In the country, remained standing still, and construction contracts are turning into an abyss of corruption, which Libyans have not seen any existence on the ground.

The family-owned Orascom Construction Company had previously signed contracts with the unity government, which included the construction of the Mellitah gas station with a contract value of more than one billion euros, in addition to its entering into an alliance with other Egyptian companies to implement the third ring road project in the capital, Tripoli, with a value of 4.28 billion Libyan dinars, and contracts for maintenance of desert roads linking the Libyan cities, projects that did not see the light of day and the Dabaiba government failed to provide the necessary guarantees for the company to start working in Libya, which prompted the large company to dismiss the Libyan market, which was confirmed by Naguib Sawiris in his tweet in which he denied the presence of his company in Libya, linking the direct work by getting rid of the militias that rule the country: “I have no activity in Libya and I will not work in Libya until you get rid of the militias and stability returns with God’s help.” He added: “I have no economic ambitions. I have no another motive.”

Sawiris family and Dabaiba family are two contradictory models

The Egyptian family of Sawiris has always been deliberately staying away from public positions or contracts that may be tainted by suspicions of corruption, as the family formed its wealth by working away from the Egyptian public sector, charitable and community works, a field that it undisputedly topped, after it provided 3 billion to the “Long Live Egypt” Fund, and established the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, which took upon itself the adoption of sustainable development projects in Egypt, where the family’s name was mentioned in the lists of the wealthy, while it was not pursued by suspicions of corruption, and it was not registered in lists of tax havens.

As for the Dabaiba family, it was quite the opposite. It did not leave public positions and undisputedly took the lead in the corruption of Libyan public money, by chairing Dabaiba and his relatives public institutions through which they received bribes and commissions from foreign companies in return for implementing projects in Libya, accusations reinforced by international organizations and investigative press reports that proved the possession of the family has bank accounts in tax havens, to which government officials resort to cover their illegal banking operations of unknown origin.

The family also faces popular criticism after the appearance of names from the Dabaiba family in extortion files of public institutions, and amid all these accusations and the obvious differences between the two families.

Dabaiba chose the populist language in response to Sawiris’ tweet, he said: “It seems that you have had it all wrong… This is Libya, history, the country of lions and the home of decency, and not a striptease festival,” referring to the Sawiris family’s adoption of the El Gouna Film Festival, which is an artistic front that succeeded in attracting movie stars in Egypt and the world, in an attempt that contributed to creating a positive image of Egypt, which was affected by years of instability.

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