Businessmen in the emerging markets of Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and the Middle East, have joined the ranks of global billionaires, but still have some way to go to catch those in mature markets, according to a study conducted by Societe Generale Private Banking (SocGen).

The average fortune of the 20 richest people in Russia is $10.1bn; Middle East $7.6bn; Europe $3.2bn; and Africa $2.3bn. Average wealth in the U.S.A. and Western Europe were $ 24.3bn and $20.1bn respectively.

In 2011 the top 40 richest individuals of the African continent were worth less than Taiwan’s 40 richest individuals.

The study, in association with Forbes Insight, found ultra high net worth individuals (UHNWIs) in the selected emerging markets were less than 55 years old in Russia and Central and Eastern Europe, while they are over 60 years old in Africa and Middle East.

The study, Emerging Markets: Joining the Global Ranks of Wealth Creators, features the responses of 250 UHNWIs in 22 countries across these three emerging markets.


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High proportion of first generation wealth in CEE and Russia
Worth $2.8bn each on average, the majority of the UHNWIs in these emerging markets (78%) are first-generation, and 98% are male.

While in Middle East only 54% are first generation UHNWIs, in Russia the same percentage is 100%.

Emerging markets are still behind the mature markets such as U.S.A. and Western Europe in terms of UHNWI’s openness about wealth and attitudes towards wealth creators.

Kasia Moreno, editorial director of Forbes Insight, said that business people in these emerging regions are "not yet up to the levels of the largest fortunes in mature markets, such as the United States and Western Europe, but they are catching up fast considering the short timespan since their inception".

Key findings from the study include only 6% of the world’s 2,000 largest public companies are owned by billionaires from emerging markets, whereas the latter accounts for 14% of the world’s billionaires.

Sports, philanthropy and politics are among the top pursuits of billionaires from emerging markets.

Technology along with banking, oil and investments are seen as the industries that will put emerging markets ahead, transforming them into high-value added producers that do not need to rely on inexpensive labour or natural resources for growth, the study further suggested.