'Arab Spring may have brought economic renewal for Mideast'
Dubai: The political upheaval triggered by the Arab Spring that swept across the Middle East in 2011 may have brought about an economic renewal in the region, a new report has claimed.
Middle Eastern Ultra High Net Worth (UHNW) population and wealth grew the fastest among all regions in the world, at an astonishing 15.3 per cent and 23.9 percent respectively, according to the UBS World Ultra Wealth Report 2013.
"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. Countries such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates benefited most from the export-led growth," the report said.
The Middle East was the fastest growing region for both UHNW population and wealth in the past 12 months, it said.
"There has been strong growth of more than 15 percent in UHNW wealth in all countries across the region except Syria.
"Saudi Arabia has the largest UHNW population and wealth at 1,360 individuals and USD 285 billion respectively. Although the United Arab Emirates trails Saudi Arabia in UHNW population and wealth, its UHNW population growth rate outpaced Saudi Arabia's at 20.7 percent," the report said.
According to the report, the total wealth in the UAE is equivalent to over 50 percent of the country's GDP.
Demi-billionaires (defined as UHNW individuals with a net worth between USD 500 million and USD 999 million) now have a greater total wealth than billionaires, with USD 48 billion compared to USD 45 billion.
Switzerland and Germany are the only other focus countries where this occurs, the report said.
Saudi Arabia has 40 female UHNW individuals with a combined net worth of USD 14 billion, it said.
"It has the lowest female representation of all the focus countries featured in the report, but a higher net worth share than Canada, Indonesia and the UAE," the report said.
Also, majority of UHNW individuals in the UAE are self-made individuals at 59 percent, compared to only 32 per cent of UHNW individuals in Saudi Arabia.
Anti-government protests dubbed as 'Arab Spring' started in Tunisia in December 2010 and spread to other countries in the region such as Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain, Libya and Syria.