Forbes Middle East revealed in its sixth edition, the list of the 34 wealthiest Arabs of 2011. The total sum of their wealth accumulates to 127 billion dollars, in comparison to 115.3 billion last year. Al-Waleed Bin Talal from Saudi Arabia remains on the top of the list despite his decline in the Forbes Worldwide ranking of the world’s richest billionaires in which he was ranked number 26, with a fortune amounting to $19.6 billion.
This list is considered the main indicator of wealth and where it is distributed throughout the economic sectors of the world. Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Lebanon, UAE and Kuwait had the highest number of billionaires throughout the MENA region with Saudi Arabia and Egypt leading the way with the highest number of billionaires, with 8 billionaires each.
Khuloud al Omian, Editor-in-chief of Forbes Middle East said “Some people may wonder why it is important to rank billionaires on an annual basis; the answer is simply that they have the ability to shape our world. At times it is also about their political power and position but it isn’t about their fortunes as much as it is about their contribution to the alleviation of unemployment in the world, through the creation of projects and job opportunities. What we need to ask ourselves is what would happen if this wealth was mis-invested?” She continued to add “Sulaiman Al-Rajhi, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett are examples among many others who have established themselves as role models, spreading their message to serve their communities and throughout the world. Following the flow of this money and how it shapes our society is another reason for us to have this ranking as this wealth can change from piles of banknotes into a means to a better world.”
New entries to the list were Yassin Yusuf and Mohamed Mansour from Egypt of which Mohamed Mansour ranked highest with a $2 billion fortune and positioned him 595th worldwide and 17th amongst the richest Arabs. Mohamed Al Fayed and his family also entered the list for the first time with a fortune of $1.2 billion and were ranked 32nd amongst Arabs and 993rd worldwide. Nassif Sawiris’s $5.6 billion fortune has granted him the first place on the Egyptian list of billionaires and 7th place in the Arab world and 182nd place globally.
With 6 billionaires Lebanon ranked in second place with the wealth concentrated to two main families; the Al-Mikati family and the Al Hariri family. Prime Minister Nagib Mikati’s net fortune amounted to $2.8 billion ranking him first on the Lebanese list, 10th among Arabs and 409th globally. Out of the 4 brothers from the Al-Hariri family, Bahaa Hariri was the wealthiest amongst them with $2.5 billion ranking him 459th worldwide and 13th in the Arab world. The UAE was ranked third with 4 billionaires, led by Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair and his family with a fortune of $2.7 billion, ranking them 420th globally and 12th in the Arab world.
In fourth place came Kuwait with 3 billionaires, lead by Nasser AL-Kharafi and his family with a fortune of $10.4 billion ranking them 77th worldwide and 4th among the richest Arabs. Kuwait’s list has witnessed the return of Qutaybah and Bassam AlGhanim with a fortune of 1.4 billion each, achieving the rank 879th worldwide and 28th among the richest Arabs.
The list also includes a number of Arabs bearing non-Arab nationalities who reside outside of their mother country, these include: Lebanese billionaire Joseph Safra who lives in Brazil, ranked 63rd worldwide and 2nd amongst Arabs with a net of $12.3 billion. Living in Russia Jordanian billionaire Ziad Al-Manaseer who is a new comer to the list was ranked 564th worldwide and 16th amongst Arabs with a fortune of $2.1 billion. Iraqi billionaire Nazmi Oge ranked 692nd worldwide and 19th among Arabs, with a fortune of $1.8 billion lives in the United Kingdom and finally the Syrian billionaire Ayman Asfari, who has also entered the list for the first time ranked 736th globally and 22nd in the Arab world, with a net estimated to be $1.7 billion.