The richest people on Earth are not immune to the coronavirus. As the pandemic tightened its grip at the start of 2020, global equity markets imploded, tanking many fortunes.
As of March 18, when Forbes finalized its 2020 World Billionaires list, it counted 2,095 billionaires—58 fewer than last year, and 226 fewer than March 6, just 12 days earlier, when it initially calculated net worth. Of the billionaires who remain, 51% are poorer than they were last year. In raw terms, the world’s billionaires are worth $8 trillion, down $700 billion from 2019.
Arab billionaires were also not insulated from the downturn, with the number of billionaires reduced to 21, down from 24 last year, with three billionaires dropping off the list, one passing away and one making a comeback. Arab billionaires’ total wealth declined 19.4% from a total of $58.7 billion to $47.3 billion, dropping by $11.4 billion—more than the wealth of the two richest people in the Arab world combined.
Egyptian Nassef Sawiris is again the world’s richest Arab, with $5 billion. A 21.9% drop from $6.4 billion last year. Mohammed Mansour was the year’s biggest gainer in absolute terms, gaining $1 billion. His net worth grew 43.4% to $3.3 billion from $2.3 billion last year, making him the fourth richest Arab.
The net worth of Majid Al Futtaim and family dropped by $1.8 billion, or 35%, as his Eponymous company made a loss in 2019. Hussain Sajwani lost the most this year in percentage terms, with his fortune down 41% due to a weak real estate market.
Forbes didn’t include Saudi Arabian billionaires on its list for the third year running, making Egypt and Lebanon are the most represented countries on the 2020 list. The U.A.E has four billionaires, down from seven last year.