Source: Gulf News

Dubai: Forty-two Arabs, whose combined fortunes ballooned by nearly a third this year, are among the richest in the world, according to the 2017 rankings released on Thursday by Forbes Middle East.

The ultra-wealthy in the Arab world managed to increase their net worth despite the economic headwinds, with some billionaires who were bumped off the list in 2016, now staging a comeback.

Still led by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, the Arab billionaires saw their aggregate net worth rise to $123.4 billion (Dh453 billion) in 2017, up 29 per cent from 2016. Alwaleed’s total wealth grew by $1.4 billion to reach $18.7 billion.

The Saudi businessman’s portfolio includes private and public companies operating in the United States, Europe and the Middle East. His firm, Kingdom Holding Co., has stakes in Twitter, Citigroup, Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Hotel George V in Paris and the Savoy Hotel in London.

Climbing to the second spot for the first time is the UAE’s very own Majid Al Futtaim, one of the forerunners of businesses in the country, and owner of the Emirati real estate and retail conglomerate that operates shopping malls, retail and leisure establishments in the Middle East and North Africa.

“With a mild recovery in crude prices and the region’s stock markets bouncing back from the lows of 2016, it has been a good year for the region’s billionaires,” said Khuloud Al Omian, editor in chief of Forbes Middle East.

Last year, low oil prices kicked out nine wealthy Arabs from the prestigious rankings, including Bassam and Kutayba Alghanim, Fawzi and Mohannad Al-Kharafi – all from Kuwait; Saudi brothers Salman, Fawaz and Abdul Majeed Alhokair, Onsi Sawiris, patariarch of Egypt’s richest family; and Moroccan real estate developer Anas Sefrioui. All the nine billionaires are now back on the list, according to Forbes,

This year’s list also features two new entrants, Qatar’s former prime minister Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani and Mohammed Serafi, a Saudi entrepreneur.

Al Thani has $1.3 billion in fortune and controls a 3 per cent stake in Deutsche Bank, while Serafi, who has a net worth of $1 billion, is considered one of the largest individual investors in the Saudi stock market.

Dominating this year’s rankings are the wealthy tycoons from Saudi Arabia, which has so far produced ten billionaires, the highest in the Arab world, and with a total net worth of $42 billion.

Not far behind are the billionaires from Lebanon and Egypt, with seven billionaires each.

The five billionaires from the UAE, on the other hand, generated a combined fortune of $22 billion.

10 richest Arabs, 2017:

1.Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud, Saudi Arabia

Net worth: 18.7 billion

2.Majid Al Futtaim and family, UAE

Net worth: 10.6 billion

3.Mohammed Al Amoudi, Saudi Arabia

Net worth: $8.1 billion

4. Abdulla Bin Ahmed Al Ghurair and family, UAE

Net worth: $6.8 billion

5. Nassef Sawiris, Egypt

Net worth: $5.6 billion

6. Suhail Bahwan, Oman

Net worth: $4.1 billion

7. Abdulla Al Futtaim, UAE

Net worth: 4.1 billion

8. Naguib Sawiris, Egypt

Net worth: $3.9 billion

9. Prince Sultan Bin Mohammed Bin Saud Al Kabeer, Saudi Arabia

Net worth: 3.8 billion

10. Hussain Sajwani, UAE

Net worth: $3.7 billion

Source: Forbes Middle East