Middle East welcomes ten new members to billionaire's club

13 November 2018 Consultancy-me.com 2 min. read

The MENA region welcomed ten new billionaires to its exclusive fold in 2017 according to an analysis from USB and PwC, with their overall number swelling by 24 percent.

Now in its fifth edition, the Swiss banking giant UBS in conjunction with the Big Four professional services firm PwC have released their global Billionaire’s report for 2018. And while dwarfed by staggering growth in the number of new Asian billionaires, the MENA region has during the course of last year expanded its billionaire’s club by nearly a quarter, jumping from 42 to 52 billionaires over the twelve-month period.

According to the analysis, altogether the world now hosts 2,158 billionaires (up from 1,979 in 2016), who in 2017 grew their collective holdings to $8.9 trillion – with the 19 percent rise in absolute growth the largest ever annual hike in concentrated wealth. For the MENA region, its 52 billionaires (with only one member falling from the list in the past year) together boast a wealth of $165.1 billion, up from $143.8 billion in 2016.

This 15 percent growth in wealth however marks the MENA region as the only sub-region globally which has experienced a lower rate of growth in billionaire wealth compared to growth in the number of billionaires. And while many of the Middle East’s richest citizens belong to wealthy family dynasties and the ruling classes, 75 percent of the region’s 52 billionaires are self-made, a figure greater than the 68 percent rate in the US.Number of billionaires in the world

All over, of the world’s newest billionaires for the past year, 199 of them were self-made, with according to the report nearly 30 percent of those generating wealth through innovation and business model disruption. For the broader EMEA region (which includes Europe and Africa), its 34 newly self-made billionaires were concentrated in the industrials sector (29%) followed by consumer & retail (15%) and then real estate and materials (12% each).

“We are experiencing a new wave of entrepreneurship worldwide, with billionaires at the vanguard of innovation,” said Josef Stadler, Head of Ultra High Net Worth at UBS Global Wealth Management. “They are creating jobs and prosperity, but their impact goes beyond economics. A new generation is emerging, and they see an opportunity to tackle some of the greatest environmental and societal challenges facing humankind.”

As a regional breakdown, the Middle East’s 52 billionaires are currently split between just five countries; Saudi Arabia (12 worth a collective $52.6 billion), the UAE and Lebanon (7 each, worth a respective 24 and 13.3 billion combined), Egypt (6/$18.2 billion) and Israel, which has 20 billionaires together worth $57 billion. The new billionaires were evenly spread between these nations, with each adding two to three.

The Middle East may also be set for a new wave of billionaires in the coming decade, with a recent global report from real estate professional services firm Frank Knight projecting a rise in the region’s demi-billionaires (those worth $500 million-plus) from 390 to 500 in the next four years. According to the report, the number of demi-billionaires in Saudi Arabia alone is set to jump by 20 to total of 140 individuals by 2022.