The last year has proven challenging for the world’s richest people. The Forbes World’s Billionaires 2023 ranking features 2,640 people, down from 2,668 in 2022. Collectively, billionaires are now worth $12.2 trillion—$500 billion less than in March last year—and nearly half are poorer than they were in 2022.
This is also reflected in the Middle East, with nine of the 21 Arab billionaires worth less now than they were a year ago. However, their collective wealth has gone up from $52.9 billion in 2022 to $53.9 billion in 2023. Billionaires from Saudi Arabia were excluded from Forbes’ global list for the sixth consecutive year.
Egypt’s Nassef Sawiris is still the richest Arab in the world, with a net worth of $7.4 billion— his wealth dropped $300 million less compared to 2022. His most valuable asset is a nearly 6% stake in sportswear maker adidas. He also runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa.
Algeria’s only billionaire, Issad Rebrab & family, is also still the second richest Arab in the world, worth $4.6 billion—$500 million less compared to 2022. Rebrab is the founder and CEO of Cevital, Algeria’s largest privately-held company. Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with the capacity to produce two million tons of refined sugar a year.
Emirati billionaire, Hussain Sajwani, is the highest earner this year. His personal wealth has risen 66.7% compared to 2022. Mohamed Mansour also saw his fortune increase by 44% this year.
Egypt and Lebanon have the highest number of billionaires in the region, with six entries each. The six Egyptian billionaires have a combined net worth of $19.1 billion. They are the three Mansour brothers, Mohammed, Youssef, and Yasseen, the two Sawiris brothers, Nassef and Naguib, and Mohamed Al Fayed, the 94-year-old former owner of Harrods.
The six Lebanese billionaires have a collective net worth of $11.8 billion. They are the two Mikati brothers, the fine Jewelry tycoon Robert Mouawad, and the three brothers of former billionaire and prime minister of Lebanon Saad Hariri, Bahaa, Ayman, and Fahed Hariri.
The U.A.E. has three billionaires on the 2023 list—Hussain Sajwani, Abdulla bin Ahmad Al Ghurair & family, and Abdulla Al Futtaim & family, with a combined net worth of $9.9 billion.
Morocco and Qatar have two billionaires each, with Moroccan prime minister Aziz Akhannouch & family and banking tycoon Othman Benjelloun & family representing Morocco, and Faisal Bin Qassim Al Thani and Hamad bin Jassim Al Thani, both members of the Qatari Royal Family, representing Qatar.