Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal saw his fortune soar 32 percent to US$22.9bn in the last year, making him the wealthiest Arab according to Bloomberg Markets' list of the 200 richest people in the world.
The magazine’s ‘The World’s 200 Richest People’ list was compiled for the 12 months leading up to October 5. The net worth of all 200 individuals featured amounted to US$2.7 trillion, about the size of the gross domestic product of France, the fifth-biggest economy on the planet.
Bloomberg Markets said Prince Alwaleed's wealth increased by US$5.6bn over the last 12 months. The 57-year old head of Kingdom Holding was ranked at number 20, with a personal wealth totaling US$22.9bn. His investments include Apple, News Corporation and Twitter.
Fellow Saudi billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi was ranked 100th and saw his wealth increase 10.7 percent year-on-year to US$10.1bn. Al Rajhi Bank's Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi ranked 140th as his wealth rose 5.2 percent to US$7.9bn.
Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris was next at 141st. The head of Orascom Construction Industries saw his wealth rise 24.7 percent to US$7.8bn. The fifth and final Arab was Saudi real estate boss Mohamed bin Issa Al Jaber, who ranked 142nd, with his wealth up 1.1 percent to US$7.8bn
The top five richest people on the list included Mexico’s Carlos Slim (US$77.5bn), former Microsoft boss Bill Gates (US$64.4bn), Spanish retailer Amancio Ortega (US$53.6bn), Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett (US$48.4bn) and rounding out the top five is Swedish IKEA chief Ingvar Kamprad (US$41.8bn).
Earlier this year a new global report found the Middle East’s super rich community grew by 100 in the last year to 4,595 individuals with a combined wealth of US$710bn.
While the number of ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals with a fortune over US$30m increased, their total wealth decreased 1.3 percent to US$710bn, according to the ‘World Ultra Wealth Report 2012-2013’ compiled by Singapore-based Wealth X consultancy firm.
Leading the pack was Saudi Arabia with 1,265 UHNW individuals, whose wealth totaled US$230bn. This was followed by the UAE, with 810 individuals with a combined value of US$120bn.
“Iraq recorded the fastest rate of UHNW population growth at 6.7 percent, followed by the UAE at 4.5 percent and Qatar at 3.4 percent. Syria saw the largest percentage reductions in UHNW population for the region,” the report said.
Within the UAE, the report showed there are 35 billionaires in the country each worth an average of US$1.1bn. The lowest tier of the UHNW group, represented by those worth US$30m to US$49m is the largest group, making up 45.7 percent of the total UHNW population in the Emirates.
Qatar is home to 12 billionaires, each worth an average of US$1.4bn. While the number of UHNW individuals in the resource rich Gulf state increased by 3.4 percent, their total balance sheet decreased by 2.2 percent to US$45bn.
Globally, there are 2,160 billionaires, each worth an average of US$2.9bn each and controlling. This means the top 1.2 percent of the super rich club control 24 percent of the total fortune attributable to the ultra wealthy.
The highest number of super rich was still in North America, with 65,295 UHNW individuals worth US$8,880bn, followed by Europe with 53,440 UHNW individuals worth US$6,950bn and Asia with 42,895 UHNW individuals worth US$6,250bn.