Saudi billionaires’ wealth hits US$55.5bn

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Saudi Arabia was home to the most billionaires in the region in 2013, according to Forbes magazine, with eight individuals and their families holding assets worth more than US$55.5bn.

According to the US publication’s annual list, Kingdom Holding chairman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal remained the kingdom’s richest man, and the world’s 26 wealthiest, with a fortune that exceeds US$20bn*.

Alwaleed was followed by agriculture magnate Mohammed Al Amoudi, whose wealth was estimated at US$13.5bn. Other billionaires from the world’s largest oil exporter included in the countdown were real estate baron Mohammed bin Issa Al Jaber and Al Rajhi bank boss Sulaiman Al Rajhi.

Overall, there are presently 27 billionaires in the Arab world, with total assets of US$92bn, the publication said.

Forbes ranked Lebanon as the Middle East country that is home to the second highest number of billionaires, with six valued at holding assets worth more than US$14bn. Top of the pack in that country was Prime Minister and telecoms mogul Najib Mikati, worth US$3.5bn.

According to the list there are currently four billionaires in the UAE, worth a total of US$9.75bn, with real estate boss Majid Al Futtaim accounting for more than a third of that value with US$3.6bn. He was followed by Mashreqbank chairman Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair and family.

Elsewhere, Forbes judged that there were five billionaires in tiny oil exporter Kuwait, valued at a combined US$6.15bn. The richest man in Kuwait, the magazine said, is diversified holding company Kharafi Group chairman Fawzi Al-Kharafi.

Finally, Morocco was home to three billionaires, worth US$6.5bn. The richest man in the North African country is insurance boss Othman Benjelloun, who is worth US$3.1bn.

* According to Arabian Business's own valuation, Prince Alwaleed's assets are worth US$25.9bn.

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Posted by: Telcoguy

GDP per capita in Saudi is at the level of a low-medium European country. Gini coefficient (a measure of inequality on wealth distribution) is the highest in the world, so yes Saudi has a number of billionaires (where a number is in the range of 10) and in exchange they have millions of people that by any definition can only be considered poor. Something that if you discuss in the Kingdom will get you thrown in jail btw

The only reason UAE, Kuwait and Qatar have a high GDP per capita is because they have smaller populations. You can draw your own conclusions here about mny of the things we keep reading about certain things

Posted by: Telcoguy

@Ammar do the numbers yourself. If the average is a low income European country, and wealth is heavily concentrated then, what is left?
@SAM, yes all the countries you mention have huge wealth inequality. I really do not see your point. Gini coefficient only deals with the concentration within a country, not with absolute or relative values. That is why you need the average GDP

Posted by: SAM

Dear Telcoguy, I too find the idea of such disparity between the rich and the poor repugnant, however, I would not put too much faith in the Gini coefficient, since Ethiopia, South Korea, Pakistan and the Netherlands all have similar Gini coefficient (per CIA World Factbook). But I agree, no matter what we use, having a large under-privilaged population in such a wealthy nation is a crime.

Posted by: Ammar Zubaid Ahmad

Millions? There are only 30 million people in the kingdom. 9 million of them expats and only 1 million of Saudis are jobless. Jeez

Posted by: Paul

I would love to know if there are any employees, or even one single employee of these billionaires who is not getting his proper salary, leave, benefits etc promptly and correctly...
And visiting Saudi Arabia as I do every month for business, I look around and wonder why aren?t some of these billions being used to make the country better, finish unfinished projects, fix enormous holes in the roads, clean up garbage, etc, etc, etc?..

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