The effect of the pandemic on the world economy might not be as bad as it was a year ago but it’s safe to say some industries are still feeling the negative financial and economic impact of the pandemic. A year ago, every industry, every sector felt this impact and this caused some companies to let some of their workers go while many were forced to work from home. The case has been the same in the Arab region with some of these Arab billionaires losing their wealth as a result of the global pandemic. There have been major improvements, however. The world is has been controlling the pandemic and the economic state has been gradually improving. As a result of that, people who suffered direct negative effects are beginning to bounce back.
This year has been different as proved by Forbes’ recent release of its World’s Billionaires ranking for 2021. 660 billionaires have joined the 2021 ranking and 493 of them have never featured on Forbes’ billionaires ranking before.
The Arab region is widely known for its pool of wealth from its oil reserves while countries like the UAE and Qatar have further helped increase the region’s fast-growing popularity. Out of the 2,755 people ranked by Forbes as the richest people of 2021, 22 are Arabs. This year’s most notable drop will be Kutayba Alganim of Kuwait whose wealth has tanked and is now regarded as a millionaire. Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani of Qatar reclaims a spot on the list while Otham Benjelloun & family have also been welcomed back to the billionaires ranking. The race for a spot on the wealth ranking is almost the same in the Gulf region as it is with the rest of the world.
Hence, here’s a list of the top 10 richest Arabs in the world in 2021 along with their net worths;
1. Nassef Sawiris (8.3 Billion USD)
Egyptian billionaire, Nassef Sawiris, retains his spot as the richest Arab in the world with a net worth of $8.3 billion USD; that’s an additional $3.3 billion from what he was worth last year. Much of his wealth has been amassed from his 6% stake in Adidas, one of the most popular sportswear manufacturers. Nassef Sawiris also purchased a 5% stake from Madison Square Garden Sports, a New York-listed firm that owns the NHL Rangers and NBA Knicks. As a renowned businessman, Nassef Sawiris is in charge of OCI Nitrogen, one of the largest nitrogen fertilizer producers in the world. The company is headquartered in the Netherlands with plants located across the globe including Texas and Iowa in the United States.
2. Issad Rebrab (4.8 Billion USD)
Issad Rebrab is an Algerian billionaire and CEO of the largest private company in his home country, Cevital Industrial Group. His company deals in agribusiness, electronics, steel, and food. The company also has a sugar refinery with the capacity to produce about two tons of refined sugar yearly, making it one of the largest sugar-producing companies in the world. The 76-year old also has two investments in the media; El Khabar Media Group which he acquired in 2016 for a reported $45 million and Algerian-French newspaper outlet, Liberte.
3. Majid Al Futtaim (3.6 Billion USD)
Majid Al Futtaim is an Emirati whose company (Majid Al Futtaim Group) is responsible for some of the biggest buildings in the Middle East, most notably the Mall of the Emirates and Mall of Egypt. He founded Majid Al Futtaim Group in 1992 after irreconcilable differences with his cousin over the Al Futtaim empire. Today, he is worth $3.6 billion and that is evident in his lifestyle. In 2014, he bought a yacht from Michael Lee-Chin which was built for him by Lurssen the year prior.
4. Naguib Sawiris (3.2 Billion USD)
Naguib Sawiris is the big brother of the Arab’s richest man, Nassef Sawiris and is the CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding, a company established by his father, Onsi Sawiris. He is responsible for turning the company into the largest private-sector employer in the whole of Egypt. His wealth skyrocketed when Orascom Telecom was sold to a Russian telecom firm in 2011; a deal that fetched his company billions of dollars. He’s currently the chairman of La Mancha Holding, an investment holding company after he was appointed in 2012.
5. Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair (2.8 Billion USD)
Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair is another Emirati billionaire who is the founder of Mashreqbank and has been serving as its chairman so it was formed. He is widely regarded as a tycoon in the business space in the UAE. His net worth of $2.8 billion makes him the second-richest Emirati in the world, only behind Majid Al Futtaim. He also owns a construction company that’s responsible for the Dubai Metro and the exterior cladding of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
6. Taha Mikati (2.7 Billion USD)
Taha Mikati is a Lebanese billionaire and founder of Arabian Construction Company whose headquarter is in Abu Dhabi. His construction company is one of the largest construction companies in the Middle East. He’s also the co-founder of Investcom, a Lebanese telecom operator. The other co-founder is his brother and fellow billionaire, Najib Mikati. Together with his brother, they own a Beirut-based investment firm, M1 Group.
7. Najib Mikati (2.6 Billion USD)
Najib Mikati served as the 31st Prime Minister of Lebanon from 2011 to 2014 after temporarily serving as a caretaker in the same office in 2015. He co-founded Investcom, a telecom firm with his brother and later sold it to MTN Group of South Africa in a deal worth $5.5 billion in 2006. He has stakes in MTN Group, real estate firms in places like London and New York, as well as Pepe Jeans, a fashion retailer.
8. Mohamed Mansour (2.5 Billion USD)
Mohamed Mansour is from a generally wealthy family, thanks to the efforts of his father, who created Mansour Group in 1952 which currently houses about 60,000 employees. He was elected Egypt’s Transportation Minister under Hosni Mubarak and he served from 2006 to 2009. His created General Motors dealership in his home country in 1975 which now serves as one of General Motors’ biggest distributors in the world. He ranks number 7 on the Africa’s Billionaires list and 590th on the global list.
9. Hussain Sajwani (2.5 Billion USD)
Another powerful Emirati billionaire, Hussain Sajwani is the founder of DAMAC Properties and DICO Group, a private investment company. In 2017, Forbes ranked DAMAC Properties as one of the fastest-growing global companies as the company witnessed a surge in revenue from 2013 to 2016. He also acquired Roberto Cavalli, an Italian fashion group, through his private investment firm in 2019. Hussain Sajwaini’s network currently stands at $2.5 billion.
10. Suhail Bahwan (2.3 Billion USD)
Suhail Bahwan has been an important figure in Oman since he landed the Toyota dealership with his brother back in 1975. Today, his company, the Suhail Bahwan Group, owns Nissan and BMW dealerships in the country. He and his brother ventured into business in 1965 and were selling building and fishing materials until their big break came in 1975 with the Toyota dealership. He is the chairman of the Suhail Bahwan Group which is one of the biggest manufacturers of fertilizers in Oman.