- Middle East Business News
Saturday, 08 May 2021
The World's 50 Richest Arabs
Arab Rich List 2009
Saturday, 19 December 2009

Last year we noted that while it takes a very good businessman to make money, it takes a brilliant one to hold on to it when times are tough.

Fast forward twelve months and HRH Prince Alwaleed appears to be a law unto himself, raking in the cash and boosting his bank balance by almost $1bn. Yet almost all those around him are on the slide. While the 35 entrants that remain on the list from last year have gained more than $4.5bn between them, 20 of those entrants are actually in worse shape than they were in 2008.

The global slowdown has impacted severely upon the tourism and retail industries, so key to the fortunes of some major Gulf family groups. It has also crippled real estate and construction in several markets; meanwhile, Gulf banks are reeling from exposure to bad loans, their share prices retreating in the face of potential writedowns.

Story continues below

The established order, like the rest of us, is suffering. And it would be a lot worse were it not for the efforts of Mohamed Abdul Latif Jameel and Saad Hariri, who each added a healthy $1.7bn to their coffers over the last year. Remove these two from the equation, and last year's candidates are barely breaking even.

So why has the benchmark for entry into the list shot up from $1.1bn last year, to $1.5bn today? If close to half of those on the list are losing money, how is it that the minimum requirement of membership to our exclusive club, is becoming even more demanding?

The answer lies in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which provides twelve of the year's fifteen new entries. Thanks to our work earlier in the year on the inaugural Saudi Rich List, which was published in August, a number of mega-wealthy Saudis have charged onto our leaderboard, displacing some perennial Arab Rich List candidates in the process.

Saudi has barely slowed its stride towards modernisation, even amid the current bitterness of the global economic climate. The Gulf's largest economy is pushing ahead with wide-ranging reforms, be they infrastructural or legislative. And the Kingdom's richest men are benefitting, with Saudis contributing a remarkable 60 percent of this year's total $207bn total.

Prominent among this new wave of Saudi billionaires is Nasser Al Rashid, who sails in at number five (perhaps on the bridge of his 344-foot mega-yacht the Lady Moura). And there's a clutch of new entries from Kuwait and Qatar hovering near the foot of the rankings, ahead of the Alghanim family, bringing up the rear.

This list has been put together over a period of three months by a dedicated team of researchers. But as always, we should stress that this is purely our assessment of the wealthiest Arabs. It has been published to celebrate the financial success of Arabs around the world - however, we apologise in advance to those individuals whose wealth we may have underestimated, overestimated, or overlooked entirely.

As a few of the Arab world's biggest players have discovered over the past twelve months, nobody's perfect.

Notes on the 2009 Rich List

We have deliberately not included royalty, with the exception of HRH Prince Alwaleed given that his wealth has been achieved through his business dealings.

The figures in this year's list are assessments made of individual and family wealth based on available public information.

Andrew White, Anil Bhoyrul, Andrew Sambidge, Damian Reilly, Joanne Bladd, Elsa Baxter, Claire Ferris-Lay, Shane McGinley, Edward Liamzon, Neeraj Gangal, Bashar Bagh,
Hassan Abdul Rahman, Anees Dayoub.

If you like this Rich List you should also read Saudi Rich List, Power 100, Bahrain Power List, 25 Smartest Banks



Disclaimer: The views expressed here by our readers are not necessarily shared by or its employees.

Click here to post a comment

Add your Comment
All posts are sent to the administrator for review and are published only after approval. reserves the right to remove any comment at any time for any reason. Please keep your responses appropriate and on topic.
Arabian Business would like to point out that only comments relevant to the story will be published. Any containing personal insults or inappropriate language will not be approved.
Name *
Remember me on this computer
Email *
(Your email address will not be published)
Subject *
Comment *
Notify me of further comments

Please click post only once - your comment will not be published immediately.

Meet The Boss