Saudi Arabia has largest ultra high net worth population in region: Study

Updated 05 October 2015
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Saudi Arabia has largest ultra high net worth population in region: Study

Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45 percent of the UHNW (ultra high net worth) population in the Middle East, a new Wealth-X study has found.
The wealth-intelligence organization defines UHNW individuals as those with $30 million and above in net assets.
Saudi Arabia has the largest UHNW population (1,495 ultra wealthy individuals) and UHNW wealth ($320 billion) in the region, followed by the UAE, according to the report.
In the UAE, there are 1,275 such individuals, worth a combined $255 billion, representing 20 percent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East.
The UAE is ranked 22nd in Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, behind Saudi Arabia (17) but ahead of Kuwait (32).
Nearly 1,000 ultra high net worth (UHNW) individuals are based in UAE capital Abu Dhabi (450 individuals) and Dubai (495).
The report said that Saudi Arabia’s more dispersed economic growth has resulted in a split of its UHNW population across. a few of its key hubs.
All of these main hubs have experienced faster growth in UHNW population than their respective country’s average. This concentration exemplifies how vital infrastructure is in facilitating the growth of both fortunes and opportunities. As such, clusters continue to dominate, and we expect these cities’ existing pull of international resources to become stronger, said the report.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45% of the region’s UHNW population, and both of these countries experienced fast growth in UHNW population and wealth.
The only country in the region to experience an overall decline in its UHNW population and wealth this year was Kuwait, due to the slow GDP growth and a declining equity market in the country. In Saudi Arabia or UAE, the UHNW populations control more than half their respective countries’ total wealth.
There are 1,275 ultra wealthy individuals in the UAE, representing 20 percent of the total ultra wealthy population in the Middle East, Wealth-X research shows.
The combined wealth of the UAE’s ultra high net worth population stands at $255 billion.
 The study also reveals that 57 percent of the UAE’s UHNW population amassed their fortune through entrepreneurship.
Only 8 percent fully inherited their fortune; and 35 percent partially inherited and grew their wealth.
 
Below are other key findings from the study:
 
• Nearly 1,000 UHNW individuals are based in Abu Dhabi (450 individuals) and Dubai (495).
• Saudi Arabia and the UAE jointly account for over 45 percent of the UHNW population in the Middle East.
• Only 3 percent of the UAE’s UHNW population made its wealth through oil, gas and consumable fuels.
• The most significant source of wealth for the UAE’s UNHW population is industrial conglomerates, at more than 20 percent.
• The UAE is ranked 22nd in Wealth-X’s global ranking of UHNW population by country, behind Saudi Arabia (17) but ahead of Kuwait (32).
There are nearly 6,000 UHNW individuals in the Middle East with a combined net worth of $995 billion.
David Awit, Wealth-X director for Middle East, said: “Despite the UAE equity market suffering declines of nearly 20 percent in the last year, our study shows that UHNW individuals in the country have defied this economic backdrop to record further increases in their fortunes in 2015, highlighting the ability of the world’s wealthiest individuals to continue to create new wealth.”


Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

Updated 18 November 2018
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Undersea gas fires Egypt’s regional energy dreams

  • In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast
  • Gas production has now hit 184 million cubic meters a day

CAIRO: Egypt is looking to use its vast, newly tapped undersea gas reserves to establish itself as a key energy exporter and revive its flagging economy.
Encouraged by the discovery of huge natural gas fields in the Mediterranean, Cairo has in recent months signed gas deals with neighboring Israel as well as Cyprus and Greece.
Former oil minister Osama Kamal said Egypt has a “plan to become a regional energy hub.”
In the past year, gas has started flowing from four major fields off Egypt’s Mediterranean coast, including the vast Zohr field, inaugurated with great ceremony by President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi.
Discovered in 2015 by Italian energy giant Eni, Zohr is the biggest gas field so far found in Egyptian waters.
The immediate upshot has been that since September, the Arab world’s most populous country has been able to halt imports of liquified natural gas, which last year cost it some $220 million (190 million euros) per month.
Coming after a financial crisis that pushed Cairo in 2016 to take a $12 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund, the gas has been a lifeline.
Egypt’s budget deficit, which hit 10.9 percent of GDP in the financial year 2016-17, has since fallen to 9.8 percent.
Gas production has now hit 184 million cubic meters a day.
Having met its own needs, Cairo is looking to kickstart exports and extend its regional influence.
It has signed deals to import gas from neighboring countries for liquefaction at installations on its Mediterranean coast, ready for re-export to Europe.
In September, Egypt signed a deal with Cyprus to build a pipeline to pump Cypriot gas hundreds of kilometers to Egypt for processing before being exported to Europe.
That came amid tensions between Egypt and Turkey — which has supported the Muslim Brotherhood, seen by Cairo as a terrorist organization, and has troops in breakaway northern Cyprus.
In February, Egypt, the only Arab state apart from Jordan to have a peace deal with Israel, inked an agreement to import gas from the Jewish state’s Tamar and Leviathan reservoirs.
A US-Israeli consortium leading the development of Israel’s offshore gas reserves in September announced it would buy part of a disused pipeline connecting the Israeli coastal city of Ashkelon with the northern Sinai peninsula.
That would bypass a land pipeline across the Sinai that was repeatedly targeted by jihadists in 2011 and 2012.
The $15-billion deal will see some 64 billion cubic meters of gas pumped in from the Israeli fields over 10 years.
Independent news website Mada Masr reported that Egypt’s General Intelligence Service is the majority shareholder in East Gas, which will earn the largest part of the profits from the import of Israeli gas and its resale to the Egyptian state.
Kamal said he sees “no problem” in that, adding that the agency has held a majority stake in the firm since 2003.
“That guarantees the protection of Egyptian interests,” he said.
Ezzat Abdel Aziz, former president of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Agency, said the projects were “of vital importance for Egypt” and would have direct returns for the Egyptian economy.
They “confirm the strategic importance of Egypt and allow it to take advantage of its location between producing countries in the east and consuming countries of the West,” he said.
The Egyptian state is also hoping to rake in billions of dollars in revenues from petro-chemicals.
Its regional energy ambitions are “not limited to the natural gas sector, but also involve major projects in the petroleum and petrochemical sectors,” said former oil minister Kamal.
Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources Tarek El Molla recently announced a deal to expand the Midor refinery in the Egyptian capital to boost its output by some 60 percent.
On top of that, the new Mostorod refinery in northern Cairo is set to produce 4.4 million tons of petroleum products a year after it comes online by next May, according to Ahmed Heikal, president of Egyptian investment firm Citadel Capital.
That alone will save the state $2 billion a year on petrochemical imports, which last year cost it some $5.2 billion.
Egypt is also investing in a processing plant on the Red Sea that could produce some four million tons of petro-products a year — as well as creating 3,000 jobs in a country where unemployment is rife.