Forbes Middle East unveiled in its April issue its 2017 rankings of the richest Arabs and the Arab world’s richest families.
Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal remained at the top, with an estimated net worth of $18.7bn, up by $1.4bn from 2016. For the first time, the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) Majid Al Futtaim landed in the number two spot at $10.6bn, followed by Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al Amoudi, worth $8.1bn.
There were two new entrants: Qatar’s former prime minister, Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al Thani, who has an estimated net worth of $1.3bn. He holds a 3% stake in Deutsche Bank. The second is Mohammed Serafi, who is one of the largest individual investors in the Saudi stock market, with a net worth of $1bn. He has shares in the real estate company of Taiba Holding and Makkah Construction and Development Company, among others.
Khuloud Al Omian, editor in chief of Forbes Middle East, said that there was a mild recovery in crude prices and the region’s stock markets bounced back from the lows of 2016, which made it a good year for the region’s billionaires.
With 10 billionaires, Saudi Arabia claims the highest number of billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $42bn, followed by Lebanon and Egypt with 7 billionaires each. Emirati billionaires are worth a combined $22bn.
In addition, Forbes Middle East came out with its second annual ranking of the Arab world’s richest families. Three out of the 12 families are self-made—the Alajlans, Alagils, and Al Subeaeis. The rest inherited their wealth. All are from the Gulf. Saudi Arabia has the highest number of billionaire families, with an aggregate net worth of $25.7bn. The Olayans topped the list, with $8bn worth of publicly traded holdings, followed by the Alshayas and Abudawoods, who have a net worth estimated at $5bn and $4bn respectively. Most families made their fortune by holding licences to international brands.