By Andy Sambidge
UAE president, Saudi oil minister also in Forbes list; US president tops rankings
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al Saud has been ranked the world's sixth most powerful person in a list compiled by US magazine Forbes.
The kingdom's ruler, who earlier this year announced a $130bn plan to create jobs and build homes after uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, was the highest ranked person from the Gulf region.
His ranking in the list owes much to Saudi Arabia's position as the world's biggest oil producer.
Saudi Arabia's oil minister Ali Al Naimi was the second highest Gulf-based person, ranked number 31 in the list of 70 people.
Barack Obama topped the list after the US leader's clout rose after the deaths of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.
Obama bumped Chinese President Hu Jintao from the top spot on the magazine's annual rankings.
The UAE president, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, was ranked 53rd while OPEC president Rostam Ghasemi was placed 32nd.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel remained the most powerful woman at number 4 on the list.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is running again for president, was No. 2 and Hu came third.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates was ranked the fifth most powerful person in the world, thanks to a malaria vaccine backed by his charitable foundation that recently passed a key clinical trial.
Mark Zuckerberg, the 27-year-old head of social networking site Facebook, shot into ninth position from 40th in last year's vote.
Pope Benedict XVI, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the US Federal Reserve, and British PM David Cameron rounded out the top 10 positions in the list.