At least five Emirati entrepreneurs in the UAE have made it to this year’s list of world’s richest billionaires by Forbes, with their combined net fortunes reaching nearly $30 billion.
The ultra-wealthy in the UAE have business holdings in various sectors, including real estate, construction, retail and automotive industries, among many others. As of March 2017, their assets reached $27.3 billion (Dh100 billion).
Earning the title as this year’s wealthiest billionaire in the UAE is Majid Al Futtaim, with a total net worth of $10.6 billion, a huge jump from just $1.1 billion in March 2012. Al Futtaim is ranked the 125th richest in the world out of the more than 2,000 billionaires.
The Emirati business tycoon owns the holding company that operates Mall of the Emirates, which has an indoor ski slope, and Carrefour hypermarkets that are spread across the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia. Only recently, the company opened the Mall of Egypt, also complete with a snow park.
Following closely behind is Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair, whose net worth has jumped from $3.1 billion in March 2013 to $6.8 billion in March 2017. Al Ghurair and his billionaire brother, Saif, are scions of a prominent business family in the UAE.
He is the founder of Mashreqbank. The businessman committed a third of his group’s assets to a foundation in July 2015.
The third-richest billionaire is Abdulla Al Futtaim, a businessman active in the automotive industry and a cousin of Majid Al Futtaim. He owns the conglomerate Al Futtaim Group, the sole distributor of Toyota and Honda vehicles in the UAE, as well as Orient Insurance Co., which has captured a huge share of the local insurance market.
Another Emirati businessman, known in the real estate industry, took the fourth spot. The founder of Damac Properties, Hussain Sajwani has likewise grown his net fortune from $3.2 billion in March 2016 to $3.7 billion this year.
US President Donald Trump had earlier collaborated with Sajwani in 2013 to build two Trump-branded golf courses. In February 2017, the Trump International Golf Course opened at Akoya, a residential development by Damac.
Saif Al Ghurair emerged as the fifth richest billionaire in the UAE, whose wealth reached $2.1 billion this year, up from $1.4 billion in 2013. The businessman’s fortunes, however, fluctuated over the years, with the current net showing a decline from $3.4 billion in 2015 and $2.2 billion in 2016.
Forbes’ 2017 world billionaires list covers 2,043 wealthy individuals, a jump from 1,810 last year.
5 Richest Billionaires in UAE, 2017
1. Majid Al Futtaim
Net worth: $10.6 billion
Source: Real estate, retail
Global rank: 125th richest billionaire
2. Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair
Net worth: $6.8 billion
Global rank: 202
3. Abdulla Al Futtaim
Net worth: $4.1 billion
Source: Auto dealers, investments
Global rank: 427
4. Hussain Sajwani
Net worth: $3.7 billion
Source: Real estate
Global rank: 501
5. Saif Al Ghurair
Net worth: $2.1 billion
Global rank: 973