New world’s richest man

The editor in chief of "Forbes" magazine, Steve Forbes, says the number of new billionaires in the world is a sure sign that the global economy is recovering from its brush with disaster.

15:28 / 11.03.2010 "The number of billionaires has gone from 793 last year to 1,011 this year, almost to where it was [in] the record level of 2008," Forbes told reporters at a new conference in New York to announce the magazine’s annual ranking. "The overall net worth of these billionaires is $3.6 trillion, up from $2.4 trillion just a year ago -- a 50 percent increase."

In 2009, the global financial crisis wiped out some 300 members of the billionaires club. This year, 164 of them are back on the list, joined by 97 first-time members.

The average worth of the world’s billionaires is now $3.5 billion, or $500 million more than last year.

These fantastically rich citizens come from 55 countries -- two of which have never before made the list: Finland and Pakistan.

The biggest surprise on the list is the new world’s richest man. With a personal fortune of $53.5 billion, Carlos Slim Helu, a mobile phone mogul from Mexico, has dethroned Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who held the top spot for more than 10 years.

Gates is now second, followed by American investor Warren Buffet. Gates and Buffet have each donated billions of dollars to worthy causes, which decreased their fortunes and opened the door for Slim’s rise.

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