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African Billionaire To Watch: Anas Sefrioui

Anas Sefrioui, a reclusive Moroccan-born billionaire property developer, is building low-cost homes for thousands of middle class Moroccans.

Little is known about Moroccan billionaire Anas Sefrioui. He was born in 1957 in Fes, one of Morocco’s four major cities. As the story goes, he dropped out of school very early to take up a job with his father Abdesallam Sefrioui, producing “Gassoul” a popular Moroccan SPA clay used for washing the body and hair.

In 1988, at age 31, Sefrioui mobilized his savings and founded a real estate development group company. He bought up small, dilapidated residential structures, renovated them, and then flipped them for a profit. As he repeatedly developed properties, he soon caught the attention of Morocco’s late King Hassan II, the father of the current King Mohamed VI.

In 1998 King Hassan II awarded Sefrioui a lucrative state contract to build 20,000 units of government-subsidized houses for the Moroccan masses. It was the ultimate coup for Sefrioui. The deal was worth millions of dollars, and the young, emerging tycoon stood to earn a fortune from it. Sefrioui set to work immediately. His Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha built the 20,000 housing units and did it in much less time than they had promised they would.

As a result, Sefrioui became endeared to King Hassan II, who became his biggest patron. In 2005, the state awarded Sefrioui’s company a $1 billion contract to build more housing units. The following year, Sefrioui listed his company, Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha, on the Moroccan stock exchange. He owns a nearly 62% stake in the company, which has a market capitalization of $2.3 billion. Sefrioui debuted on Forbes’ list of the World’s Billionaires in March this year with a net worth of $1.6 billion.

Sefrioui has built over 190,000 homes spanning some 15,000 acres across Morocco. He has also expanded the group from mere property development to a conglomerate of sorts. Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha now has interests in cement manufacturing, financial services and tourism, new territories he ventured into in rapid succession. I tried to reach Sefrioui and his spokespeople for a comment but did not get a reply.Only the Moroccan tycoon knows what he’ll venture into next.

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