UAE has 14 of 'richest' 100 Arabs: Forbes ME

Forbes Middle East has ranked 14 UAE residents in the list of 100 Richest Arabs for 2014.

Out of the 100 trailblazing tycoons on this year’s list, Saudi Arabia takes the lead with 39 rich residents and a combined wealth of $64.9 billion. Where number of entries is concerned, Egypt ranks second with 15 names followed by the UAE with 14, while Lebanon clinches the runner-up spot in terms of combined wealth, with a sum of $30.65 billion, the magazine said.

The magazine released its 100 Richest Arabs list where Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Alsaud continued his reign at the top with an estimated $20.4 billion wealth, followed by Lebanese-Brazilian Joseph Safra in second with $16 billion, and Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Amoudi in third with a total of $15.3 billion.

Quoting Forbes’ global billionaires list, Emirates 24l7 reported on March 4 that the number of billionaires in UAE rose from 7 in 2013 to 8 in 2014 while their wealth jumped 84 per cent or $11 billion (Dh40.37 billion) to $24.2 billion (Dh 88.8 billion) last year. The Emirati billionaires are Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair & Family with a wealth of $4.8 billion; Majid Al Futtaim at $4.5 billion; Saif Al Ghurair & Family at $2.8 billion; and Abdulla Al Futtaim at $2.5 billion. The expat billionaires include Micky Jagtiani with $5 billion assets; Sunny Varkey at $1.8 billion; MA Yusuff Ali is at $1.8 billion; and BR Shetty.

Forbes Middle East said the combined fortunes of the 100 richest Arabs amounted to a huge $166 billion in 2014 list. Whether self-made or from families of fortune, each has amassed in excess of $140 million and of the top 100 names, 45 are billionaires — four more than 2013 — sharing total wealth of $147.7 billion.

Revered names from Egypt and the UAE also feature amongst the top ten, while Algeria makes its first billionaire appearance with self-made food industries tycoon, Issad Rebrab. Alongside Algeria’s entry, 10 further Arab newcomers feature this year. Meanwhile, on the global scene, Jan Koum, the man behind Whatsapp, enters the billionaire ranks for the first time following the headline-grabbing $19 billion deal with Facebook.

Sector-wise, a total of 21 millionaires and billionaires have made their fortunes in banking, while diversification and retail have proven lucrative, each claiming 14. Rounding out the top five sectors are real estate and the GCC giant, oil and petrochemicals.

By identifying the investment choices of the Arab world’s richest inhabitants, and indeed those residing further afield, this ranking does more than showcase wealth, it provides valuable insight into the lay of the business land as well as the sectors, industries and geographies that make it tick.

In the name of transparency and fairness, Forbes Middle East has considered only publicly held shares recorded as of February 13, 2014, as well as audited documents and other official, verifiable information available in the public domain or received directly from the source. Admittedly, dollars by the million are slipping though the net as a result, but the lavish list gives a glimpse into a world of impressive impresarios and flourishing families that have set the gold standard for enterprising success.

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