North Korea’s Kim Jong Il Meets Orascom Chairman in Pyongyang
Kim welcomed Sawiris’s visit “taking place at a time when Orascom’s investment is making successful progress,” North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency reported today. Kim had a “cordial talk” with the businessman before hosting a dinner for him, according to the report.
Orascom, the biggest mobile-phone operator in the Middle East by users, said had 301,199 subscribers in North Korea at the end of September, more than quadruple the number recorded a year earlier. The Cairo-based company started mobile-phone services through its Koryolink unit in December 2008.
North Korea, under United Nations sanctions for its two nuclear tests in 2006 and 2009, is restricted in making cross- border financial transactions related to weapons development.
Sawiris’ expansion in the past decade has also taken him to Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Naguib, the oldest of three brothers who control some of Egypt’s biggest companies, made forays into markets shunned by others.
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