Middle East welcomes ten new members to billionaire's club

13 November 2018 Consultancy-me.com

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.


Local consultancy Impact Research helps to assess relief efforts in Yemen

18 April 2019 Consultancy-me.com

Newly incorporated Yemeni consultancy Impact Research has been working with UN agencies and international NGOs to evaluate local crisis and recovery efforts.

Now into its fifth year, the worsening civil conflict in Yemen has taken the lives of over 60,000 citizens and brought wide-spread devastation to what was already the poorest county in the region, with millions suffering from its effects. According to UN reports, four fifths of the Yemeni population – some 24 million people – are in need of humanitarian or protection assistance, with more than half of those in acute need and threatened by famine.

A number of UN agencies and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) including the UNDP, World Food Programme, Oxfam, and World Bank among others have been acting to bring relief through a variety of local humanitarian projects, such as the three-year joint UNDP-World Bank Yemen Emergency Crisis Response Project (YECRP) which through a grant of $300 million seeks to assist recovery from the bottom up by restoring livelihood opportunities.

The reasoning behind the approach is that by increasing income-generation opportunities for the some 80 percent of the Yemeni population currently unemployed, individual households will be strengthened and then more capable of assisting and contributing to their communities – ultimately bringing the country closer to peace. To date, over half a million people have directly benefited from the YECRP project, through both short-term job creation and training initiatives.Impact Research helping to assess humanitarian relief efforts in YemenUnprecedented as a humanitarian disaster, the urgency and scale of the project (over 3 million people have also gained access to basic services such as water and health through YECRP) and other relief efforts by their nature requires somewhat of an as-you-go approach, with the need for constant assessment to measure the impact and effectiveness of the implementations and identify areas for potential improvements. One firm helping with such analyses is Impact Research.

Incorporated this year, the Sanaʽa-based firm is staffed by a team of professional consultants and researchers who aim to become the leading consultancy in Yemen – serving both the private and public sector with a comprehensive range of provisions in advisory, research and analysis, monitoring and evaluation, project management design, planning, and implementation, and capacity-building and training, blending global best practice with deep local insight.

So far the firm’s clients include among others Oxfam, the International Labor Organization, German development agency GIZ and the UNDP, with Impact Research providing in-the-field research, assessments, reporting, monitoring and evaluations to gauge the performance and effectiveness of various relief projects, aiming to gain greater knowledge along the way to help improve future practices and interventions while disseminating that knowledge in turn.

“We have learned that impact in Yemen is not as intuitive as one thinks,” the firm states. “The complexity of the situation makes small efforts full of impact, while much money can create very negative and unintended consequences.” It adds, spiritedly; “The Yemen crisis has opened new opportunities for the Yemeni people as much as it has closed many. The catastrophe has pushed all of us to see the light in the dark, and to identify the opportunities between the ashes.”

Related: BCG partners with the WFP on refugee food security innovations in Jordan.