Gates back at top of global rich list

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has regained the top position in the world's rich list.

Bill Gates Forbes magazine revealed its ranking of the world's billionaires yesterday and Gates who led the list for 15 of the past 20 years, made it to the top again ahead of Mexican telecom mogul Carlos Slim Helu, who had topped the list for the past four years.

Gates's estimated net worth is $76 billion while Slim's net worth is projected at $72 billion.

Spanish clothing magnate Amancio Ortega, known for the Zara retail chain, retained his number three spot pushing ahead of legendary US investor Warren Buffett, who ranked fourth. Larry Ellison of Oracle was placed in the fifth position.

According to Forbes, a record 1,645 billionaires made the list this year, with an average net worth of $4.7 billion, up from 1,426 billionaires last year with a net worth of $4.2 billion.

This year's rich on the list had a net worth of $6.4 trillion, up from $5.4 trillion last year.

The magazine said while 207 of the 1080 billionaires inherited their wealth, 352 inherited a portion while the rest were self-made.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who more than doubled his fortune to $28.5 billion with the sharp increase in the value of the company's stock, was the largest net worth gainer and ranked 21st on the list.

However, what was noteworthy about the list was a number of newcomers came from countries like Lithuania and Tanzania, which made the list more interesting than in years previous.

Other regions that saw wealthy individuals make their way to the list were: the Asia-Pacific region with 444 billionaires, the youngest billionaire hailed from Hong Kong, and for the first time an African took his place amongst the 25 wealthiest people in the world.

According to commentators, what was evident was markets were growing stronger, and self-made money ruled the top of the financial game.

The US retained its status at the top of the financial world with 498 billionaires on the list, while China came in second with 152 billionaires and Russia followed with 111.

This year saw an extra 268 billionaires make it to the list, while countries – Algeria, Lithuania, Tanzania, and Uganda – made it for the first time.

(Also see: India has more billionaires than France or Germany)