Ultra-rich in the Middle East to rise 28% by 2022

The National

The number of demi-billionaires in the Middle East - defined as those individuals with wealth of more than $500 million in assets - is set to increase by 28 per cent in the next four years, according to a new report.

The number of demi-billionaires in the region is expected to grow to 500 individuals by 2022 from 390 last year, according to the Knight Frank Wealth Report released on Sunday. Saudi Arabia is leading the way, with the number of demi-billionaires forecast to increase 17 per cent by 2022 to reach 140 people.

“There has been a stabilisation in the growth of ultra-wealthy individuals,” said Winston Chesterfield, director of custom research at wealth data specialist Wealth-X. “Market volatility has decreased, and the equity and bond performance seen in 2017 has created a sense of confidence. This has augmented the trend towards more entrepreneurial spending among the ultra-wealthy, especially in emerging economies.”

In four years, there will be more demi-billionaires in Asia than North America. Wealth-X predicts that there will be almost 3,000 people based in Asia who have more than $500m in assets by 2022, highlighting the increasing power of Asia as a wealth hub.


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Despite Asia’s growth, the US will remain the country with the biggest overall population of demi-billionaires, expected to rise from 1,830 to nearly 2,500 by 2022, the report said.

Greater protectionism, the role of technology in promoting political division and rising levels of debt all pose the biggest risks to growth and stability.

“It is too early to say how Ultra-High Networth [UNHWIs] individuals will react to the political events of 2018 so far – but our data show that they tend to take a longer view,” Mr Chesterfield said. “The vast majority of UHNWIs are entrepreneurs and, as such, have dealt with adverse business conditions before. As a result, they are prepared to take a more balanced view in periods of uncertainty or ambiguity.”

So far, 2018 has been rocky, with increasing tension between the US and China on trade wars, political uncertainty in the UK and some parts of the EU and interest rates either already rising or set to do so.

However, the global economy continues to gain strength, with the International Monetary Fund forecasting 3.9 per cent growth this year and next, up from 3.8 per cent in 2017.


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Name: SmartCrowd
Started: 2018
Founder: Siddiq Farid and Musfique Ahmed
Based: Dubai
Sector: FinTech / PropTech
Initial investment: $650,000
Current number of staff: 35
Investment stage: Series A
Investors: Various institutional investors and notable angel investors (500 MENA, Shurooq, Mada, Seedstar, Tricap)

Email sent to Uber team from chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi

From: Dara

To: Team@

Date: March 25, 2019 at 11:45pm PT

Subj: Accelerating in the Middle East

Five years ago, Uber launched in the Middle East. It was the start of an incredible journey, with millions of riders and drivers finding new ways to move and work in a dynamic region that’s become so important to Uber. Now Pakistan is one of our fastest-growing markets in the world, women are driving with Uber across Saudi Arabia, and we chose Cairo to launch our first Uber Bus product late last year.

Today we are taking the next step in this journey—well, it’s more like a leap, and a big one: in a few minutes, we’ll announce that we’ve agreed to acquire Careem. Importantly, we intend to operate Careem independently, under the leadership of co-founder and current CEO Mudassir Sheikha. I’ve gotten to know both co-founders, Mudassir and Magnus Olsson, and what they have built is truly extraordinary. They are first-class entrepreneurs who share our platform vision and, like us, have launched a wide range of products—from digital payments to food delivery—to serve consumers.

I expect many of you will ask how we arrived at this structure, meaning allowing Careem to maintain an independent brand and operate separately. After careful consideration, we decided that this framework has the advantage of letting us build new products and try new ideas across not one, but two, strong brands, with strong operators within each. Over time, by integrating parts of our networks, we can operate more efficiently, achieve even lower wait times, expand new products like high-capacity vehicles and payments, and quicken the already remarkable pace of innovation in the region.

This acquisition is subject to regulatory approval in various countries, which we don’t expect before Q1 2020. Until then, nothing changes. And since both companies will continue to largely operate separately after the acquisition, very little will change in either teams’ day-to-day operations post-close. Today’s news is a testament to the incredible business our team has worked so hard to build.

It’s a great day for the Middle East, for the region’s thriving tech sector, for Careem, and for Uber.

Uber on,


The specs: 2019 Audi A8

Price From Dh390,000

Engine 3.0L V6 turbo

Gearbox Eight-speed automatic

Power 345hp @ 5,000rpm

Torque 500Nm @ 1,370rpm

Fuel economy, combined 7.5L / 100km

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