Saudis top Middle East ultra rich list

Updated 07 October 2015
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Saudis top Middle East ultra rich list

JEDDAH: 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, said 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 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 percent 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.
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.


Umrah pilgrims now free to move around Saudi Arabia

Updated 12 min 53 sec ago
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Umrah pilgrims now free to move around Saudi Arabia

  • Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah
  • Nearly 8 million Muslims are likely to perform Umrah this year

JEDDAH: Millions of Umrah pilgrims are to be granted the freedom to visit anywhere in the Kingdom during their stay, the Saudi Cabinet decided on Tuesday.

Muslims making the holy pilgrimage will be allowed to tour anywhere in the country as part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to boost tourism and the economy.

“The Cabinet has decided to exclude people coming to perform Umrah and to visit the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madinah), of the prohibition of movement outside Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah. A royal decree has been prepared to this effect,” the acting media minister, Issam bin Saeed, said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah.

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Vision 2030 aims to increase the country’s capacity to welcome Umrah visitors from 8 million to 30 million every year.

Nearly 8 million Muslims will perform Umrah in the Kingdom this year, and the Cabinet’s move will enable them to enjoy a broader experience of Saudi Arabia by visiting key landmarks, historic sites, tourist attractions and shopping centers.

“We are looking to enrich the experience of pilgrims and facilitate their arrival,” Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, told Arab News. “Traveling around the Kingdom is an opportunity for pilgrims to visit cultural and tourist sites.

“At the same time, they will be allowed to arrive at any port in the country which will facilitate their arrival and expand the capacity to receive more pilgrims.”

Ministers hope their decision will help toward reaching Saudi Arabia’s goal of receiving 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030.

In the past, pilgrims were allowed to convert their visas into a tourist visa on the condition that they were registered with a tourism program. “This is no longer a requirement,” said Al-Maddah.

He added that they would now be free to plan visits to other Saudi cities, tourist destinations, festivals and events, within the period of their visa validity.

Al-Maddah said: “We want to make it available to everyone in order to enrich the experience of the pilgrims, which is one of the goals of Vision 2030.”

He noted that the authority responsible for implementing the Cabinet’s decision would be the Interior Ministry.