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.