Dubai, Asharq Al-Awsat- Forbes has recently announced the 2007 list of the world’s richest people, which includes 30 billionaires from the Arab world with a collective net worth approaching $125.3 billion. The world’s total number of billionaires totaled 946 with a collective net worth of $3.5 trillion, a significant increase from the 2006 figures of 793 billionaires with a collective net worth of $2.6 trillion.
The 34th issue of Forbes Arabia, published in April 2007, also reports that the number of Arab billionaires increased 25 per cent in a single year, compared to a 19.3 per cent increase of billionaires worldwide, however the collective net worth of Arab billionaires only increased by 15.4 per cent, compared to a worldwide increase of 35 per cent.
Although the Arab world’s richest list preserved its usual flavor, with Saudi Arabia offering 13 out of the 30 total billionaires, and Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal Bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud topping the Saudi rankings with a net worth exceeding $20.3 billion, there were also some big surprises this year which witnessed a few newcomers, a few returns, some departures and a general trading of places.
Seven Arab newcomers debuted in the 2007 world’s richest list, with only Hind Rafik Al Hariri, last year considered the youngest billionaire in the world, departing from the list. Of the seven newcomers, three are from Saudi Arabia, two are from Egypt, two are from Lebanon and one Kuwaiti, Mohamed Al-Bahar, restored his position on this year’s list with a net worth of $1.4 billion.
Saudi’s new faces include Maan Al Sanea, securing sixth place with a net worth of $7.5 billion; Sulaiman Al Qusaibi, featuring twenty-sixth with $1.4 billion; and Mohamed Al Jaber, featuring twenty-eighth with $1 billion.
Egypt’s nominees include two brothers, Nasef and Samih Sawiris, with Nasef securing tenth place with $3.9 billion and Samih ranking twenty fourth with $1.5 billion.
The surprise in Lebanon was the emergence of the two brothers, Nagib and Taha Mikati, who, with a net worth of $2.3 billion each, secured a joint seventeenth position with Saad Al-Din Al-Hariri, who dropped from his eight place last year after his wealth suffered a decrease from $4.1 to $2.3 billion.