According to Forbes Magazine: Top 3 Wealthiest Arabs in the UAE 

4:52 pm  |  12.03.2024

According to Forbes, we looked at three of the richest individuals in the UAE. In this article, you will find out who they are and how they accumulated their impressive fortunes.

Hussain Sajwani: $4.5 Billion

Hussain Sajwani, known as the “Arab Trump,” is a business magnate and founder of DAMAC Properties. He made his billions in real estate and is known for his unconventional marketing, offering clients free Lamborghinis, BMWs, jet skis, and studio apartments.

Born into a family of entrepreneurs, Sajwani received higher education in the United States and then returned to his native country. Having started his business with catering for the American company Bechtel, he invested in the construction of hotels in Dubai and acquired real estate in the city center.

In 2001, when UAE regulations allowed foreigners to own real estate, Sajwani shifted his focus to this sector, which became a key moment in his career. In 2002, he founded DAMAC Properties, which is now considered one of the leading development companies in the Middle East.

DAMAC now plans to expand into global markets, including Saudi Arabia. In addition, Hussain is actively involved in charity work, donating millions of dirhams to various projects, including helping those affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

DAMAC’s strategy was to pre-sell apartments and use advance payments to finance construction, which was unusual at the time. The first tower, Marina Terrace, sold out in less than six weeks.

Ten years later, the company’s revenue began to grow rapidly. From 2013 to 2016, DAMAC was ranked number one on Forbes’ list of companies with the highest revenue growth.

The company has built more than 27,000 homes worldwide, and Sajwani himself has expanded his influence into other industries, acquiring Italian fashion house Roberto Cavalli in 2019, as well as jewelry company De Grisogono in 2022.

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Abdullah Al Ghurair: $4.5 billion

The journey of his success began in an unexpected setting – his family’s involvement in pearl fishing. Over time, this modest enterprise evolved into a vast empire encompassing cement, flour, and sugar factories. Additionally, the family business diversified into food production, notably pasta under the Jenan brand.

Abdullah inherited the business and initial capital from his father. In 1967, he established Mashreqbank, which eventually emerged as the largest private bank in the UAE. Although he relinquished his role as chairman in 2019, Al Ghurair retained a seat on the board of directors.

Diversified Investments and Landmarks

Beyond finance, Al Ghurair has made substantial investments in various sectors, including shopping malls and manufacturing facilities. Notably, in 1991, the Al Ghurair Group unveiled the BurJuman Center, a prominent shopping destination. Moreover, the company contributed to the construction of iconic landmarks such as the Burj Khalifa Tower and the Dubai Metro.

Commitment to Community: Education Initiatives

Al Ghurair is recognized for his philanthropic endeavors, particularly in education. In 2015, he allocated a third of his group’s assets to establish a fund dedicated to enhancing education in the UAE. His foundation aims to provide scholarships to 15,000 Arab students by 2025, thus fostering greater educational opportunities in the region.

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Abdullah Al Futtaim: $2.6 billion

Abdullah Al Futtaim is a highly successful entrepreneur, renowned for his role as a distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles and as the owner of the Al Futtaim Group conglomerate, a significant contributor to Dubai’s GDP, accounting for 15%.

Originating Success: From Car Trading to Corporate Dominance

Al Futtaim’s entrepreneurial journey traces back to the realm of car trading. In the 1950s, his uncle initiated the importation of cars into Dubai, recognizing the burgeoning potential of the region’s automotive market. Over time, the family capitalized on this opportunity, leading to the establishment of the Al Futtaim Group. Presently, the conglomerate stands as a formidable entity, with an annual sales volume exceeding 100,000 vehicles. Moreover, it holds franchises for esteemed global brands like Toyota, Lexus, Honda, and Volvo.

Diversified Portfolio: Beyond Automotive Dominance

The Al Futtaim Group’s influence extends far beyond the automotive sector. In addition to its automotive ventures, the conglomerate boasts ownership of the insurance company Orient and oversees the operations of IKEA stores across the UAE, Qatar, Egypt, and Oman. Furthermore, it holds franchises for renowned brands such as Hertz, Toys “R” Us, and Zara within the Emirates.

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Economic Impact and Recognition

Recent statistics underscore the significant economic contribution of the Al Futtaim Group, with the conglomerate accounting for 15% of Dubai’s GDP. Additionally, the group’s achievements have garnered international acclaim, as evidenced by its inclusion in Forbes’ list of the Middle East’s Top 100 Arab Family Businesses in September 2022, where it secured the third position.

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