Billionaires of the UAE – Wealthiest people (Updated 2021)

In the world of today, according to verified statistics, there are about 2500 billionaires in the entire globe. When it comes to ranking rich people in the world, there are general rankings from the Richest Man in the world down to the last person without either putting their nationality or their country of residence into consideration. Some rankings have to do with countries and regions ranging from the richest country down to the last. Then we have wealth rankings in individual countries. You should not be surprised when the richest man in your country happens not to make the first 50 in the entire globe, getting to the Forbes list isn’t child’s play. This particular piece is focused on the richest men in the United Arab Emirates, their individual worth, as well as the business they key into which is the source of their wealth. Make sure to follow through to the end.

Ranking by country, the UAE comes as the 20th position globally in a ranking of countries that currently have the highest number of billionaires. In the entire Middle East, the UAE is currently one of the wealthiest countries, some say it is the wealthiest and that is why it is usually referred to as the “Gulf Tiger” and I think it deserves the title. The second wealthiest country in the Middle East which is also the only country fortunate to be listed in the world country ranking (asides from the UAE) is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which is commonly called Saudi Arabia. It is estimated to have a total of 10 top-rated billionaires as of 2019 statistics, earning it the 30th position in the global ranking.

The Populous city of Dubai which is one of the major cities in the UAE currently has a total of over 18 billionaires earning it the 1st position in the whole cities in the entire Middle East as well as the 25th position globally in rankings that involve cities with the highest percentage of individuals whose wealth are top-notch, however, only a few of them are listed in the world’s billionaire club in recent years. Dubai is the largest city in the UAE, having the highest population. It is also known as the central cultural and business hub of the country. It is the main driver of the UAE to become the popular country every tourist wants to go to at least once in a lifetime. Compared to other Arab cities, the city of Dubai is more like a place for the rich and famous, and several families have been on the wealth lead for decades past.

From recent rankings, the UAE has a total of 24 known billionaires, I am using the word “known” simply because statistical data cannot possibly cover everything. There are likely to be some other billionaires in the country that are not recognized, this might be as a result of them not having an establishment that is glaring to the general public or them deciding to live a low-key lifestyle away from the media. It is nearly impossible to get the precise figures, but we just have to go with the glaring and published figures. The country currently has the highest number of billionaires in the middle east as well as the North African region. These recognized billionaires of the UAE collectively controls wealth which is worth about USD70 Billion. These figures are based on the most recently published Rich list from Hurun Global.

Of the total 24 billionaires of the UAE, only seven (7) of them are Emiratis (UAE nationals). These emiratis combined have control over USD28 Billion worth of wealth. The remaining known billionaires in the UAE which are 17 in number are non-Emiratis (expats), they hold over USD42 Billion in wealth, totaling USD70 Billion. The number 1 ranked the richest man in the country is Majid Al Futtaim worthing a total of USD10.94 Billion, coming in the second position is Khalaf Al-Habtoor & family whose wealth grew drastically by 91% making their entire worth about USD7.2 Billion, the third richest is Abdullah Al Ghurair whose wealth is worth a total of USD6.8 Billion, the list goes on and on. However, During last year’s slow economic growth in the region, a number of the billionaires were affected by the impact and suffered a shrink in their wealth, only a few experienced more growth in their wealth despite the economic crisis.

The oldest billionaires of the UAE are Abdullah Al Ghurair and Family who are the proud owners of Mashreq Bank. They control USD6.8 billion worth of wealth. Having lived for 95 years on earth, Al Ghurair passed away in August 2019 leaving the wealth and entire business to the control of his children. This is just a little brief though, more details will be discussed about each of these billionaires as mentioned in the introduction, you surely want to have the full list, make sure to read further.

Billionaires of the UAE

The Emirates have been in existence for thousands of years but only started becoming popular after the discovery of oil in the region in the 1960s, before then, it was just a desert land whose harsh weather is very severe and almost unbearable to a normal man. After the discovery of oil, the country transformed gradually on a very fast track. Today, it is a place of attraction to the entire world, the wealth from oil has been an edge and most of the developments in the country today are aided by oil money. For a country whose economy is going on smoothly and attracting expats daily, of course not only the government’s pocket is enriched, it becomes easy for individuals to also rise to become possessors of riches and wealth.

The country’s tax laws are very accommodating to International businesses, this is the reason it is easy for foreigners to carry on business activities easily in the country. The UAE of today is known to be a home of very rich and well famous people and has bred a lot of both national and international moguls. Below are a few of the billionaires that hold solid grounds in the United Arab Emirates

Abdullah Al Ghurair

Holding the third position in the UAE is another popular man known as Abdullah Al Ghurair whose net worth is USD3.7 billion. This is the owner of one of the oldest banks in the country – Mashreq Bank which was established in 1967.

Asides from owning a bank to himself, Abdullah is the founding father of the Al Ghurair group; a diversified family-owned business. The group holds some core industries in the UAE such as the biggest Flour Mill, a water company, as well as an animal feed producing industry. They are also the owner and management of some hotels, apartments, and a shopping mall in Dubai. He is a respected businessman in the UAE and is loved for his passion and hardworking characteristic which has, in turn, earned him his position as one of the richest men in the entire UAE.

MA Yousuf Ali

Yusuff Ali is the sole proprietor of Lulu Group International and holds his position in the company as the Chairman and Managing Director. Lulu Group International is in charge of Lulu international shopping mall as well as the Lulu Hypermarket chain worldwide. He also owns one of the biggest convention centers in entire South Asia; the Lulu Balgotty Interactional Convention Center which is situated on Balgotty Islands, as well as the 3rd-largest Hyatt which is a branded hotel that is as well situated on the same campus. His net worth is estimated at $3.5 billion by Forbes.

 Amazingly, Yusuff Ali is not an Emirati by citizenship, he is an Indian business mogul based in the UAE which is a clear explanation to why his company remains the highest to contract a huge number of Indians outside their fatherland. According to data from Forbes in 2018, Yusuff Ali was placed as the 21st richest Indian in the world and the 270th position in the richest man in the entire globe (that’s kind of far right? Leaves you wondering how much wealth the richest man on earth would have.)

Rankings in the Middle East, he is among the top 100 Indian business owners in the Arab world of today. He has some shares in form of investments in different firms, for example, he has 4.99 percent in the Catholic Syrian Bank which is situated in Thrissur, he also has a share of 4.47 percent in the Federal Bank in Aluva. He was also able to buy the Scotland Yard Building in London, also owns 10 percent in a UK trading firm, as well as 40 percent in a fine food subsidiary. These are just a few of his investments around the globe. So, I see no reason anyone should harbor doubt in his name being mentioned as one of the leading billionaires in the UAE.

Majid Al Futtaim

Majid Al Futtaim is the second billionaire in the UAE that made it to the Forbes list with a wealth of $3.3 billion.

One of the main branches MAF operates in is the Luxury and Hospitality sector. It is in charge and maintains a total of 13 hotels as well as 24 shopping malls in and out of the UAE. Amongst these malls are the Mall of the Emirates which is situated in the heart of Dubai, as well as the Mall of Egypt which is situated in the city of Cairo. The company currently operates in 12 countries outside the UAE, some of these countries include Armenia, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and some others.

Futtaim is not just a one-faced businessman, he believes so much in diversification and that has assisted and improved the growth of his wealth over time. One of his diversified branches is his interest in the fashion world. He currently has a license from popular brands like Athletica, Abercrombie & Fitch, as well as Lululemon. He also has an eye on the entertainment industry. He is into investments that involve concerts and cinema events.

Abdullah Al Futtaim

Abdullah Futtaim holds the third position having a net worth of USD2.1 billion. He is the sole proprietor of the successful AL FUTTAIM group which is a well-to-do company operating in a few parts of the world like Japan, Kenya, as well as Morocco. He was able to create his fortune by engaging in trading with popular brands, the likes of Toyota cars, and has authority from brands like Zara IKEA, and Hertz. He is also into the establishment of shopping Malls, he is the owner of Dubai Festival City, as well as Cairo Festival City.

Hussain Sajwani

Following the list is Hussain Sajwani who is popularly known in the Real Estate world in the UAE. He has a very significant amount of Real estate properties in different places in the Middle East as well as outside the middle East. He is the current chairman of DAMAC; a luxury real estate property situated in Dubai which he established in 2002. Both of his parents were accomplished entrepreneurs so, being an entrepreneur was a thing of the blood for him and survival in the entrepreneurial aspect came so easy to him. His net worth as per Forbes is $1.4 billion.

His dad was a well-known trader who had a shop at the local market, he used to sell china-imported shirts and goods. During the stage of schooling, he attended a medical college in Baghdad which was a fully-funded scholarship by the government. After that, he went on to study Industrial Engineering at the University of Washington in the United States. He landed his first job as a financial officer in Abu Dhabi gas Industries, from there was where he started building a catering business that worked for him due to his exclusive privilege by meeting wealthy clients, that was how he started building his wealth.

Having discovered how much easier it is for an Upcoming rich man to grow so wealthy in Dubai, he decided to invest highly in the city by establishing a few real estates. From there, he was able to expand to other places outside the UAE like London and Paris. Some other things he owns include; a golf course which is design by Tiger woods and is being managed by the Trump Organization.

Khalaf Al Habtoor And Family

Khalaf Al Habtoor is the main driver of the family’s wealth, he is the son of a very popular business mogul, investor, and also the CEO of Al Habtoor group. Al Habtoor Group is one of the largest companies whose activities are broadly diversified. Al Habtoor Group is into a wide range of business investments like real estate, hotel management, education, hospitality, as well as the publishing industry.

Khalaf played a very important role in the recent progress of the Al Habtoor group and also has hand in the launching of some major companies. Khalaf was also the supervising head during the development of Al Habtoor City, he also supervised and still supervises some other projects like Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, Al Habtoor Business Tower, as well as the popular Palm Jumeirah which is situated in Dubai. Al Habtoor family is the biggest collaborated business family in the country.

Ravi Pillai

Ravi Pillai is an Indian born businessman and founder of RP Group of companies. With businesses in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, and Bahrain. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at $2.5 billion. His company is also reputed as one of the largest employers of migrant Indian workers.

Saeed Bin Butti

Saeed Bin Butti is a well-known personality because he was a one-time past ruler of Dubai (precisely the third ruler), he was made the ruler in 1852 after the passing of his brother Maktoum bin Butti bin Suhail because Maktoum’s son was supposedly too young to hold the position after the death of his father. Saeed was also a signatory to the Perpetual Maritime Truce that was signed with the British government in 1853.

Saif Al Ghurair

Coming on next in the UAE’s billionaires’ league is Saif Ghurair who is a popular Emirati business mogul. Saif has spent a larger quota of his life gathering massive wealth for himself. He is one of the key shareholders in the Al Ghurair group; a family business that is a very big diversified business in the UAE holding a few shares in several businesses in and outside the UAE.

Some of the branches the company is ventured into are; Real estates, Petrochemicals, Packaging, Metals, Stock brokerage, and many more, it is broader than you can think of. The company has some very big investments, the likes of; two of the biggest real estate properties in two of the largest shopping malls in Dubai; on the Reef mall, as well as on Burjuman Center. The company has authority from brands like H&M, Splash, Matalan, Next, LC Wakili, and a host of others.

Saif Al Ghurair has a bachelor’s degree which he attained from Al Ain University, he also has a couple of qualifications and skills that assisted him a lot in the success of his business, he has also been able to impact so much knowledge into his children concerning the business world, amazingly, all of his sons are notable stakeholders in each of his major businesses

Saket Burman

Saket Burman comes next on the list having a net worth of USD1.7 billion. He is a United Kingdom citizen who lived most of his business life in the UAE, he particularly lives in the city of Dubai. His main source of wealth revolves around consumer goods. He is a member of the Burman clan that founded one of India’s largest consumer goods companies “Dabur”. 12.4 percent of the company’s share was part of his inheritance after the demise of his father in 2015. Saket also established an IT company which he later sold out, that company is currently into general trading. He also owns a couple of assets which include landed properties, as well as financial investments.

Conclusively

The above-mentioned billionaires are the first ten wealthiest individuals in the UAE in the year 2020. In the entire world, we have about 2,500 billionaires distributed all over 67 countries in the globe. Due to the global economic crisis experienced last year, the billionaires also had a hard time keeping up with their wealth, the crisis lead to their total wealth decreasing by 9 percent which in turn lead to 430 of them dropping off the billionaires’ list which is indeed a very high number.

Topping the list worldwide is the Amazon chief known as Jeff Bezos whose individual wealth amounts to USD123 billion, followed by Bill Gates with a net worth of USD98 billion, then Bernard Arnault who Is worth USD76 billion, then Warren Buffet worth USD67.5 billion, Mark Zuckerberg worth USD54.7 billion, Amancio Ortega worth US55.1 billion, Carlos Slim and Family worth USD52.1 billion, Sergy Brin worth USD49.1 billion, Larry Page worth USD50.9 billion, and the list goes on and on.

You should know very clearly that this list is as regards to the clear statistics made by Forbes. it is almost impossible to correctly get the real number of billionaires, as some are also multi-billionaires but are not captured in the statistics, this may be as a result of them preferring a silent lifestyle away from the media are they’ve just not been uncovered yet. It is generally assumed as for every billionaire uncovered, there is at least one more yet to be uncovered, most especially in the Gulf States. Some even go the extra mile to hide their wealth from the entire public due to their reasons.

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