By Salma Awwad
Region's 157 super-rich are worth $354bn and world's biggest consumers
There are more billionaires in the world at present than any time before, with 2,170 wealthy individuals worth a combined net worth of over $6.5 trillion.
According to Wealth-X and UBS, the average wealth of a billionaire equals $3bn, but globally, there are 111 individuals who each have a net worth above $10bn. Their collective net worth is an impressive $1.9 trillion, which is greater than the GDP of Canada.
In the Middle East, 157 billionaires reside in the region, with a combined total net wealth of $354bn. The region's richest community grew significantly from last year as a result of strong equity and commodity markets, the report found.
Although the Middle East represents just seven percent of the total number of billionaires, they are the biggest consumers, which explains why the luxury industry puts a great deal of emphasis on the market.
The average value of real estate, yachts, and private planes that they own is the highest in the world and a lack of education does not appear to be a barrier for Middle Eastern billionaires. Only 49 percent have a degree, which is the lowest figure for all regions worldwide.
Within the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the country with the largest number of billionaires (64), followed by UAE (37) and Kuwait (17).
The total wealth of Saudi billionaires comprised more than half of the combined net worth of the billionaires in the Middle East. Two thirds of them derived their wealth from inheritance and 95 percent of this wealth is held by men.
Billionaires of the UAE, on the other hand, have derived their fortunes through finance, banking, investment and real estate and not oil and gas.
The gap between the highest and lowest paid workers in a company used to be 10 times. Now it is over 100. Are we rolling backwards?