Qalaa Holdings Founder and Chairman Ahmed Heikal Named African Business Leader of the Year



The firm’s founder and chairman honored at African Investor CEO Investment Summit 2014 for his continued contributionto the development of the business, finance and investment landscape in Africa

Qalaa Holdings (formerly Citadel Capital, CCAP.CA on the Egyptian Exchange) an African leader in infrastructure and industry, is pleased to announce that its Founder and Chairman Ahmed Heikal has received African Investor’s African Business Leader of the Year Award, honoring his 25-year contribution to the development of business, finance and investment in Africa.

The annual awards, which recently took place in Washington D.C. alongside the World Bank’s Annual Meetings, recognize exceptional business practices, economic achievements and investments across Africa, as well as the institutions and individuals improving the continent’s investment climate. Other winners included Nigeria’s Minister of Finance and the Kenyan Investment Authority (KenInvest).

“I am truly honored to be recognized at such a prestigious venue and alongside such an esteemed list of key African business and investment figures,” said Heikal. “As I have noted repeatedly, we are truly in the midst of an African Century. Twelve of the world’s 20 fastest-growing economies in the next five years will likely be in North and Sub-Saharan Africa, and today our continent is a one-billion-strong consumer market, while in 2040 it will be home to the world’s largest working-age population. Our middle class is already more than 310-million strong, and our 18 largest cities will have combined purchasing power of USD 1.3 trillion by 2030,” added Heikal.

Heikal founded Qalaa Holdings as a two-person partnership with Hisham El-Khazindarin 2004 with EGP 2 million in capital. The company has since successfully shifted its investment model from a private equity firm to an investment holding companywith accumulated assets on its balance sheet that are presently in excess of USD 4.2 billion, extending its leadership in five core sectors: energy, transportation, agrifoods, mining and cement.

“The transformation currently underway in Africa is one that will completely remake the continent and, with it, the global economy,” noted Heikal.

“Africa is now home to more than two dozen nations that the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation sees as prime for private equity investment, and the continent’s foreign reserves base is skyrocketing on the back of an export-led, commodities-driven boom. When coupled with a growing number of governments led by younger, better-educated individuals who are more open to private-sector involvement in the economy than ever before, it’s easy to see why all eyes should be on Africa,” he added.