Arif Naqvi

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Arif M. Naqvi
Born Karachi, Pakistan
Alma mater Karachi Grammar School
London School of Economics
Occupation Founder and Group CEO of The Abraaj Group

Arif Masood Naqvi is the Founder and Group Chief Executive of The Abraaj Group, a private equity investor operating in Africa, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia. Naqvi founded the Group in 2002. It started with 60 million USD in assets under management and as of 2013, manages 9 billion USD.


Naqvi began his career with Arthur Andersen in London and American Express in Karachi. In the early 1990s, he joined the Olayan Group in Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom’s largest trading company. In 1994 he started an investment firm in Dubai called Cupola with $50,000 of his own savings. Five years later, Naqvi bid for the Middle East business of the logistics company Inchcape Shipping Services. Cupola won the bid, buying Inchcape’s marketing interests for $116 million, making it the MENA region’s first leveraged buyout.[1]

The Abraaj Group[edit]

The Abraaj Group currently has more than 25 country offices including five regional hubs in Dubai, Istanbul, Mexico City, Nairobi and Singapore. Funds managed by the Group have made over 140 investments across 10 sectors including consumer, energy, financials, healthcare and utilities.


In October 2012, Naqvi and Bill Gates, Co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, signed a five-year framework agreement on family planning and health in Pakistan. They will also explore further areas for collaboration to advance global health and development.[2]

Recognition and Thought Leadership[edit]

In 2014, Interpol Foundation for a Safer World appointed Naqvi to its Global Board of Trustees.[3] In this role, Naqvi will lead the I-CHECKIT initiative, one of the Foundation's five global initiatives, aimed at protecting key industries that are particularly vulnerable to the threat of identity fraud, such as airlines, hotels, passenger shipping companies, banks and financial institutions.

In 2012, Naqvi was appointed to the Board of the United Nations Global Compact by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.[4]

Naqvi is on the Global Leadership Council of Columbia University, a Board Member of Endeavor Global, [5] and is the Chair of the Middle East Centre Advisory Board of the London School of Economics and Political Science. He is a Council Member of the Belfer Center International at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art in London.

Naqvi has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Oslo Business for Peace Award from The Business for Peace Foundation,[6] the highest form of recognition given to individual business leaders for fostering peace and stability through creating shared value between business and society. He was also a recipient of the Kennedy Centre's Gold Medal in the Arts award [7] and the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, a prominent civilian honor awarded by the Government of Pakistan. In 2011, he was named as one of the 50 most influential people in the global private equity industry by Private Equity International.[8]


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