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

Updated 05 October 2015

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.”


Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

Updated 22 October 2020

Taps and reservoirs run dry as Moroccan drought hits farmers

  • The problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year in Morocco

RABAT: Two years of drought have drained reservoirs in southern Morocco, threatening crops the region relies on and leading to nightly cuts in tap water for an area that is home to a million people.

In a country that relies on farming for two jobs in five and 14 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), the problems caused by increasingly erratic rainfall and the depletion of groundwater are growing every year.

In the rich citrus plantations of El-Guerdan, stretching eastward from the southern city of Agadir, more than half of farmers rely on two dams in the mountains of Aoulouz, 126 km away, to irrigate their trees.

However, that water has been diverted to the tourist hub of Agadir, where mains water has been cut to residential areas every night since Oct. 3 to ensure taps in households did not run entirely dry.

“The priority should go to drinking water,” Agriculture Minister Aziz Akhannouch said in parliament last week.

In El-Guerdan, Youssef Jebha’s crop of clementine oranges has been compromised by reduced water supply, he said, which affects both the quality of fruit and the size of the harvest.

“The available ground water is barely enough to keep the trees alive,” said Jebha, who is head of a regional farmers’ association.

“Saving Agadir should not be at the expense of El-Guerdan farmers,” he added, speaking by phone.

‘We hope for rain’

El-Guerdan is not alone in facing drought. Morocco’s harvest of cereals this year was less than half that of 2019, meaning hundreds of millions of dollars of extra import costs.

Despite lower production, Moroccan exports of fresh produce have risen this year by 8 percent. 

Critics of the government’s agricultural policy say such sales are tantamount to exporting water itself, given the crops use up so many resources.

A report by Morocco’s social and environmental council, an official advisory body, warned that four-fifths of the country’s water resources could vanish over the next 25 years.

It also warned of the risks to social peace due to water scarcity. In 2017, 23 people were arrested after protests over water shortages in the southeastern city of Zagora.

In January the government said it would spend $12 billion on boosting water supply over the next seven years by building new dams and desalination plants.

One $480 million plant, with a daily capacity of 400,000 cubic meters, is expected to start pumping in March, with the water divided between residential areas and farms.

Until then, “We hope for rain,” the agriculture minister said in parliament.

In El-Guerdan, the farmers are digging for water. A new well costs $20,000-30,000. However, “there is no guarantee water can be found due to the depletion of ground reserves,” said Ahmed Bounaama, another farmer.