Saudi billionaire, Islamic bank veteran Saleh Abdullah Kamel dies at the age of 79

Saleh Abdullah Kamel, who passed away on Monday at the age of 79, is a Saudi billionaire businessman and the founder of one of the Middle East’s largest conglomerates, Dallah Albaraka Group (DBHC), Al Arabiya reported.

Kamel established the company in 1969 as a small proprietorship and grew it into a diversified international conglomerate, incorporating investments in billions in over 40 countries worldwide.

Kamel is also the chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce.

He played a pioneering role in promoting Saudi Arabia as a regional economic force and Jeddah as a leading international port and hub for global commerce.

According to  Al Arabiya, He focused on combining the efforts of DBHC and the Chamber of commerce with mega-infrastructure projects such as King Abdullah Port, the Economic City, the new railways, and the King Abdullah International Airport.

He has been called ‘the father of contemporary Islamic finance’ and has received Malaysia’s Royal Award for Islamic Finance in November 2010.

He was actively involved in efforts to expand trade among member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation countries.

Kamel was a strong advocate of philanthropy as a powerful socio-economic development mechanism in the Kingdom.

He estimated the total value of Islamic zakat in Saudi Arabia at 1 trillion Saudi riyals and believed that such a huge amount could be used to solve many economic and social problems in the country. He said that people should pay zakat for real estate properties that have been offered for sale.

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