The UAE currently counts 37 billionaires among its ultra-high net worth (UHNW) individuals, up 5.7 per cent from 35 last year, according to a 2013 wealth report released by Wealth-X and UBS.
The billionaires’ combined wealth also increased 12.5 per cent from $40 billion in 2012 to $45 billion this year.
The country’s overall UHNW population stands at 1,050, an increase of 20.7 per cent from 870 last year, said the report. Their total wealth rose by 26.7 per cent to $190 billion, compared to $150 billion in 2012.
Demi-billionaires in the emirates have a greater total wealth than billionaires, with $48 billion, said the report. Total wealth in the UAE is now equivalent to over 50 per cent of the country’s GDP.
However, female UHNW individuals own only $8 billion worth of assets – amounting to four per cent of the total. The 65 women also account only for six per cent of the country’s overall UHNW population.
Most of the UAE’s wealthy are self-made individuals at 59 per cent, compared to only 32 per cent of UHNW individuals in Saudi Arabia, stated the report.
Globally, the report found that the world’s UHNW population reached an all-time high of 199,235 individuals in 2013, with a combined wealth of $27.8 trillion.
The report identified 2,170 billionaires globally, with a total net worth of $6.5 trillion, equal to 23 per cent of the world’s UHNW total wealth.
The Middle East’s 157 billionaires – with a combined net worth of $354 billion – hold a higher percentage of total wealth than in any other region in the world, said the report.
The region’s overall UHNW population and wealth also grew the fastest among all regions in the world, at 15.3 per cent and 23.9 per cent respectively. The Middle East now has 5,300 UNHW individuals who have a combined wealth of $880 billion.
“High oil prices spurred economic growth for Middle Eastern countries and government spending rose accordingly to address the shortage of housing as well as inadequate infrastructure,” the report said.
Saudi Arabia has the largest UHNW population and wealth in the region, at 1,360 individuals and $285 billion respectively.