Middle East rich are among world’s most generous, report says

On average, wealthy people — those with a net worth of $30 million or more — will donate $29.6 million over the course of their lifetimes. (AFP photo)
Updated 15 December 2016

Middle East rich are among world’s most generous, report says

DUBAI: Major donations among ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals rose to an all-time high last year, growing by 3 percent since 2014, according to a new report on global philanthropy released on Thursday.
On average, UHNW individuals — those with a net worth of $30 million or more — will donate $29.6 million over the course of their lifetimes, with total global UHNW public lifetime giving estimated at $550 billion.
The median gift by major UHNW philanthropists in the Middle East is $5 million, 50 percent higher than in North America, and rising levels of wealth in the region suggest that even larger sums will be directed at positive causes in the coming years.
“Ultra-wealthy individuals in the Middle East give nearly 10 percent of their net worth to philanthropic causes, which does not even account for the substantial Zakat and Sadaqah charitable contributions made anonymously across the region,” said John Hanafin, CEO of Arton Capital in Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
“The trends identified in this report are truly global, with the ultra-wealthy behaving in similar ways whether they are from Shanghai or Zurich or New York, and the Middle Eastern members of this club are no different, which demonstrates the global connectivity of wealth in the modern world.”
His remarks came as the new report — “Changing Philanthropy: Trend Shifts in Ultra Wealthy Giving — revealed that major donors, those UHNW individuals who have donated at least $1 million in their lifetime, are significantly wealthier than their UHNW peers and have an average net worth of nearly $300 million.
The report — commissioned by Arton Capital and produced by Wealth-X — also shows that major donors hold a greater share of their wealth in liquid assets, $85 million on average, and typically donate about half of their cash holdings to charity over a lifetime.
The report focuses on innovations in giving, identifying the trends that are helping to increase the scale of donations and exploring new developments in philanthropy such as impact investing, how “giving back” is becoming integral to the identity of an organization, and analyzing the extent to which the Millennial generation is setting a new philanthropic agenda.
Other findings from the report include:
• Most major donors are self-made – UHNW individuals with self-made fortunes represent nearly 70 percent of major donors and, on average, they are more than twice as wealthy as their UHNW peers.
• Education and health are top causes — education remains by far the most popular philanthropic cause for UHNW individuals, followed by health, with environmental issues increasing in importance.
• Millennials are reshaping philanthropy — the younger generation is ushering in new philanthropic models that combine traditional foundations with profit-making endeavours and social enterprises, and are driving employee-based philanthropy.
• The blurring of corporate and individual philanthropy — UHNW individuals are leveraging the resources at their disposal to maximize their return on giving, aligning the philanthropic strategy of their business with their own personal giving.  
Arton Capital Founder and President Armand Arton said: “At Arton Capital we share the firm belief that the prosperity of one individual, one company, or one nation is interdependent with the prosperity of others.”
He said: “By shifting focus from day-to-day thinking to generation-to-generation planning, wealthy individuals have the power to make a positive impact to some of the world’s most significant challenges.”
The Arton Capital and Wealth-X Philanthropy Report 2016 utilizes Wealth-X’s unique and proprietary UHNW database, the world’s most extensive collection of curated research and intelligence on ultra-high net worth (UNHW) individuals. 
The report also employs the Wealth-X Giving Index, which takes into account participation (the number of gifts made annually) and size (the value of gifts) from the world’s UHNW individuals, based on the Wealth-X UHNW database.

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.