Sure, we’ve got our share of problems out here in the Middle East -- destitute poverty and income inequality being among them. But the MENA region is also an epicenter of wealth and philanthropy that’s taking global markets by storm.
Arab philanthropists have not only dominated local markets, but are also putting the region on the map in the international economy’s megapond. Every year, much to the discontent of Saudi Prince and mega-millionaire Al-Waleed Bin Talal, Forbes rates the Arab world’s top billionaires. But perhaps the better way to understand how much they’re spreading their wealth around the globe is to see where these billions are ending up.
The answers may surprise you.
From Twitter and Paris Saint-Germain, to Harrods and Disneyland, Arab wealth is more conspicuous and expansive than ever before.
Some businesses are owned, either in whole or in part, by wealthy moguls like Al-Walid Bin Talal, while others have come directly under state ownership. Gulf states have directed massive sums accrued through their sovereign wealth funds to takeover European landmarks.
These states say their monster acquisitions are all part of their diversification strategy, but these investments have raised a few Europeans (particularly French) eyebrows. The Qatari state and its sovereign wealth have reportedly managed to build themselves a tax-free property empire in the heart of Paris, worth around 3 billion euros, with the rest belonging to members of the ruling al-Thani family. Ah Qatar -- another day, another scandal.
But let’s forget all that for a moment, and check out just how far Arab wealth has made it! Take a look at some of the big name brands you didn’t know were owned by big name Arabs!