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The people who make a difference in the Canary Islands
   The people who make a difference in the Canary Islands

Amid Achi Fadul
Tenerife’s number one entrepreneur
Amid Achi Fadul founded the ‘Numero 1’ chain of stores in the 1970s to cater for a community with limited means and a desire to dress well.


Amid Achi Fadul recently won the Tenerife Businessperson of the Year award
Amid Achi Fadul recently won the Tenerife Businessperson of the Year award
© Cámara de Comercio de Tenerife

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31.10.2015 - The shops offered popular clothing lines with no individual garment costing more than 998 pesetas (around €6).  Their fame spread fast across the Islands’ towns and where there was a church and a pharmacy there also stood a Numero 1 store.

Now a proud 67-year-old grandfather, Amid – who is a close personal friend of Amancio Ortega, the owner of Zara and one of the richest people in the world – recently opened the new commercial centre in Adeje: Siam Mall.

Originally from Syria, he recently won this year’s Businessperson of the Year award, presented by the Tenerife Chamber of Commerce, announcing that he “feels more loved than he could ever have imagined on this island, which is my paradise”. 

Island Connections were lucky enough to have the opportunity to catch up with Amid Achi Fadul and speak to him about crisis, horror, hope and… football.

 

 

The refugee crisis in Syria is well covered at the moment, has anyone from the region approached you directly for help?

“Yes, there are people that needed to leave.  Entire families; parents with two or three children.  I helped some find work in Senegal, for example.  These people are doing whatever they can, because the Islamists will come and if they know they belong to another religion they carry out horrific acts”.

 

Have there been victims in your family?

“Many relatives and associates have died in troubles over the years, some of them when they were young.  My saddest moment was the death of my son, Antoine, before his fifth birthday.  He would be 31-years-old today.  If I am not travelling I visit him at the cemetery every Sunday and speak with him.  My son is my force and my inspiration; he keeps me on the straight and narrow and helps me become a better person.  I always feel his presence”.

 

You recently opened the impressive Siam Mall commercial centre in Adeje, are you now thinking of taking a break?

“No way!  I play the long game; when I finish one project I’m starting another.  I just bought the El Galeón Commercial Centre, also in Adeje, which I think will open in March with 300 new jobs.  There are also four more mall projects in the pipeline”.

 

How many jobs has Siam Mall created?

“There are 630 fixed workers.  I managed to do this during times of economic hardship and without help from the banks, which is what I’m most proud of.  Across all my companies I employ over 1,500 people.”

 

Is the financial crisis over?

“We’re no longer going from bad to worse but we still need two or three years to feel that there is no danger of falling back into recession”. 

 

What lessons have we learned from the crisis?

“The lesson is not to take short-term credit and be in the hands of the banks.  Banks have not been too affected by the crisis, and I still don’t see any of the bankers responsible in prison.  These individuals stole billions and ruined the lives of many people”.

 

What do you think about the level of corruption in the Canaries?

“The crisis has left about a tenth of what it was.  There is less business now, so less corruption.”

 

Why doesn’t the Canarian multi-millionaire class meet and help with the problems?

"If the Canarian president and members from each island’s government ask those individuals to meet with them, I’m sure they’d be pretty flattered and will bring something to the table.  However, the initiative has to be taken politically first”.

 

Do you ever think about retiring?

“I don’t think I’ll ever retire!  Without work I’d feel empty – this is what I’ve done my whole life.  I come from a modest family in a small village and I never forget my roots”.

 

Is there extravagance in your life?

“Football!  I’m passionate about CD Tenerife games – I think my daughters are afraid that something will happen to me one day during a game!”



Gallery: Tenerife’s number one entrepreneur
Amid Achi Fadul recently won the Tenerife Businessperson of the Year award 
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