Ghanim, al-

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Merchant family in Kuwait.

The al-Ghanim family, together with the Al Sabah, the Al Saqr, and the al-Qatami, were among the original Anaza settlers in Kuwait in the eighteenth century. The family made money first in shipping and trade, but a disaster at sea in 1925 encouraged them to diversify their interests. Ahmad al-Ghanim became an agent of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company (APOC) during its negotiations for the Kuwait oil concession and the family did business with both APOC and the concessionaire, the Kuwait Oil Company. During the 1930s, al-Ghanim family income provided the government of Kuwait with two-thirds of its revenues. Ahmad's son Yusuf, along with other family members, fled Kuwait after the failure of the 1938 Majlis movement, returning in 1944 under a general amnesty. By the end of World War II the al-Ghanim employed 7,000 men, about half the workforce of Kuwait. The family became the top labor and supply contractor for the Kuwait Oil Company and Faysal alGhanim served as one of its managing directors. The al-Ghanim also acquired agencies and distributor-ships, including a lucrative arrangement with General Motors. Thunayan Faysal al-Ghanim served with the small contingent of Kuwaiti troops among the forces liberating Kuwait from Iraqi occupation in 1991. The family owns al-Ghanim Industries, a holding company that ranks among the top companies in the world.

See also petroleum, oil, and natural gas.


Carter, J. R. L. Merchant Families of Kuwait. London: Scorpion Books, 1984.

Crystal, Jill. Oil and Politics in the Gulf: Rulers and Merchants in Kuwait and Qatar. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

mary ann tÉtreault