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WATCH: Cairo 360’s Exclusive Interview With Business Tycoon Naguib Sawiris
written by
Sherif Khairy

At El Gouna Film Festival (GFF), we did our best to connect with the top name celebrities in attendance, and have a quick chat with them all. But one person we just couldn’t miss was Naguib Sawiris, one of the most influential people behind the success of the festival itself.

We talked to Sawiris about the differences he sees between this, and the first edition of the festival, and his hopes for next year.

Naguib Sawiris is the main man behind the festival, along with his brother Samih. Together they took the idea of El Gouna Film Festival and turned it into a star-studded reality, funding the first edition of GFF largely by themselves. They had faith that this festival would boom, which is why they took on the risk, and are now starting to reap the rewards.

The oldest of his three brothers, Naguib Sawiris studied in Egypt and Switzerland, and used his knowledge and innate skill to contribute to the growth of Orascom Group, the company his father, Onsi Sawiris, founded. Of course, most people relate his name to the success of the giant telecom company, Mobinil, later acquired by Orange International. His many business ventures made him one of the wealthiest people in Egypt, and in 2015, was listed in Forbes Magazine as the 577th richest person in the world, as his wealth hit $3.1 billion.

Naguib Sawiris moved further into the limelight during the revolution, and has slowly become more of a public figure than a businessman in recent years, trying his hand in politics, and now moving closer to the film industry. You can see just how involved he is through his very engaging Twitter account, which he keeps updated with what’s trending in Egypt, and also replies (often humourously) to a number of his followers.