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									                Saleh Abdullah Kamel, banker par excellence

                             By Abdel Aziz Dimapunong
                    Chancellor, Islamic Banking Research Institute

The Islamic Banking Research Institute of the Philippines has been on the search for
personalities who might have been the founding fathers of Islamic banking that now
spans around the globe. Undeniably the name of His Highness Prince Muhammad Al
Faisal Al Saud comes to mind. For one he is the founder of the Dar Al Mal Al Islami
(House of Islamic Funds). There is also no question about H. E. Sheikh Saleh Abdullah
Kamel as being one of the founders. One cannot escape the fact about H.E. Dr Ahmed
Mohamed All, President of the Islamic Development Bank, the bank of the Organization
of Islamic Conference. Here we are talking about the big leaguers in global banking. It is
difficult to find words to describe their ranking in this arena. We just have to settle for
the term Bankers Par Excellence. It is awesome to find their achievements in banking
and business. They are empire corporate builders.

Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, banker par excellence.

In this issue we focus our concern on H.E. Sheikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, banker par
excellence. He has been one of the better known philanthropists and bankers in the
Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

Born in Mecca in 1941, Sheikh Kamil owes his success to his extensive preparation and
the hard work he has put through the years in a variety of jobs and business pursuits.

After finishing his bachelor’s degree in Commerce, he started as an advisor in the
Ministry of Finance. Fired by his enthusiasm to participate in the development process of
the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in another capacity, Sheikh Saleh Kamil went to business
in a variety of ways.

Sheikh Saleh plays an important role in the everyday life of Saudi citizens. A prominent
figure in the economic and political affairs of his country, his chain of business interests
have links across Europe and span the Atlantic oceans to the United States and goes still
farther to the Bahamas.

In the Kingdom, Sheikh Kamil’s name is a household word. Outside of the Kingdom,
some of his company nameplates are also household words. In my small hometown in
Muslim Mindanao, far away from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the names of Dallah
AVCO and SAPTCO ring a bell to workers from Saudi Arabia.

Saleh Abdullah Kamel is well known in the banking industry. But aside from being a
banker and investment guru, he has also been in various business endeavors. The product
lines and services of his various companies affect almost every citizen in the Kingdom.
These are in airport maintenance contracts, pre-fab house construction, publishing and
printing concerns, marketing, air-conditioning, hotel operations and a host of other

In Egypt, he was substantially involved in tourism, public information, investments
houses and banking. He was a co-founder of the Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt. This is the
bank that could have been the first Islamic bank. Sheikh Saleh Kamel founded the Faisal
Islamic Bank of Egypt together with another banker par excellence by the name of His
Highness, Prince Muhammad Faisal bin Al Saud.

Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt may have been the first Islamic Bank. The bank was
conceptualized at the beginning of the 1970s although it actually started operations on
May 7, 1979. It was His Royal Highness Prince Muhammad Al-Faisal Al-Saud who
submitted the idea of Islamic banking before a number of Egyptian businessmen. The
idea was welcomed and the Bank was incorporated under Law No. 48 of 1977. Faisal
Islamic Bank was updated under law no. (42) of 1981 and under law (97) of 1996.
During these years its authorized capital had been raised to 500 million dollars of which
132 million dollars had been subscribed, issued and fully paid up capital. The Egyptian
nationals hold 44% of the equity capital while the rest are being held by foreign
stockholdings. Faisal Islamic Bank of Egypt now manages over half a million investment
accounts, and its total assets amount to more than 2 billion U.S dollars.

In the Sudan and Jordan, Saleh Kamel was also active in Islamic banking institutions,
investment and financing firms. He was a founding member of the Faisal Islamic Bank
of Sudan.

Sheikh Kamel has been involved in vital trading, financing, and other concerns in
Greece, USA, the Bahamas and other countries.

One of the greatest Muslim philanthropists, Sheikh Kamel was a leading associate of the
Islamic Solidarity Fund Board and the Organization of Islamic Conference of Foreign

His involvement in so many industries and or establishments indicates his deep
commitment to the development of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the prosperity of
Muslim countries. He has been president of the Dallah Establishment; partner and
president of the Dallah AVCO Trans Arabia; owner of Dallah International; chairman of
Dallah International Holding Co. Inc. Sheikh Kamel has been chairman of the following
companies: Dallah Industries Company, Textile and Ready Made Garment Company,
Saudi Irish Dairy Company, Arab Media Company, Saudi Pre-Fab and Precast Co.
(SAPRECO), Fast Contracting Company, Dallah –LIL-Mavani Company, The Concrete
Company, AMARTECH, The Saudi Air-conditioning Company, The Islamic Arab
Insurance Company, Okaz Distribution Company, Food International Company.

Saleh Kamel was also Executive member of the Board of the Saudi Public Transport Co.

He was also founding chairman of the Jordanian Islam Bank for Finance and

He was either founder member or founding chairman of the following companies:
Tihama Company for Advertisement, Public Relations, and Marketing Studies, Dar Okaz
for Printing and Publishing, Okaz Establishment for Press and Publishing, Okaz
Libraries and Company, The Saudi Hotel and Resort Areas Company, The Yemeni
Kuwaiti Real Estate Development Co., Sana’a, The Arab Hotels Company, Sana’a,
Shobel, Switzerland and England, Arab Investment Company of Egypt, Arab Union
Investment Company of Egypt. Eastern Company for Production and Distribution,

In the 1990s, Sheikh Kamel was still as active as the beginning of Islamic banking in the
1970s. He was founding chairman of the Al Tawfeek Company for Investment Funds
Ltd. This company was incorporated in 1992 with the objective of providing medium and
long term finance for emerging companies, investment and infrastructure development
projects. It is among the pioneers in Sharia compliant investments.

Al Tawfeek Company for Investments participates in international and Arab based equity
portfolios. It is active in financial syndication by acting as agent as well as underwriter. It
has an authorized capital US $500 million of which US $304 million has already been
paid up and outstanding. It has a record of having issued fund capital amounting to over
US$ 1.5 Billion.
In summary, through its many subsidiaries, Saudi Arabia-based Dallah al Baraka Group
provides banking, investment, insurance, and lending services to businesses located
throughout the Muslim world. Its subsidiary Al Baraka Investment and Development has
been an influential fund in Islamic finance for more than 20 years. It has a record of
having managed assets exceeding $4.4 billion. All of these are to the credit of our banker
par excellence, the Saudi billionaire, Saleh Abdullah Kamel and his family. The Al
Baraka Group is the holding company for many businesses involved in trading
operations, heavy industry, real estate, media, and finance in more than 40 countries.
As of year end 2004, the Dallah Al Baraka group employs 38,250. The chairman and
president is still H.E. Saleh Abdullah Kamel, the banker par excellence.
Posted by Abdel Aziz Dimapunong

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