The number of Emirati billionaires grew to 7 in 2018 as compared to 5 last year, which is the highest in the Arab world, reveals Forbes’ annual list of billionaires released on Tuesday.
Headed by Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair, the founder of Mashreqbank, with $5.9 billion worth of assets, the wealth of Emirati billionaires totalled $24 billion (Dh88 billion) as on March 6, 2018.
In total, 14 UAE billionaires – including 7 expatriates – own Dh171.3 billion worth of assets.
Al Ghurair’s holding company has interests in food, construction and real estate. In 2015, Al Ghurair pledged one-third of his assets to a foundation that invests in education programmes.
Among others, Majid Al Futtaim and family, whose assets include malls, hotels and a franchise for hypermarket Carrefour, has wealth estimated at $4.6 billion.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of luxury developer Damac Properties, stands third with $4.1 billion worth of assets, followed by Abdulla Al Futtaim ($3.3 billion), Saeed bin Butti Al Qebaisi ($2.7 billion), Saif Al Ghurair and family ($1.9 billion) and Khalifa bin Butti Al Muhairi ($1.5 billion).
Al Qebaisi and Al Muhairi are the latest entries into the billionaire league. Both have investments in retail, money exchange and healthcare sectors.
Among the UAE-based expat billionaires, LuLu Group chairman M.A. Yusuffali has reclaimed his top position from Landmark Group chief Micky Jagtiani.
The 7 Indian billionaires in the UAE command $22.7 billion (Dh83.3 billion) in assets.
According to Forbes magazine, Yusuffali’s wealth totalled $5 billion, followed by Jagtiani ($4.4 billion), B.R. Shetty ($4 billion), Ravi Pillai ($3.9 billion), Sunny Varkey ($2.4 billion), Joy Alukkas ($1.5 billion) and Shamsheer Vayalil ($1.5 billion).
The UAE is followed by Egypt, which is home to 6 billionaires, including the richest Arab Nassef Sawiris who holds $6.6 billion in assets. Overall, falling fortunes pushed 121 people out of the list, including all 10 Saudi Arabians.