By Jonathan Davies

Bill Gates has been named the richest person in the world for the 16th time in 21 years by Forbes.

According to the Forbes 2015 Billionaires list, the Microsoft founder's fortune grew by $3.2bn to $79.2bn. That comes despite making a $1.5bn donation of Microsoft shares to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in November.

Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico comes in again at No. 2 while revered American investor Warren Buffett took back the No. 3 spot from Spain’s Amancio Ortega, who dropped to fourth place.

Warren Buffett saw the biggest increase, with improved Berkshire Hathaways' share price helping to grow the investor's fortune by $14.5bn. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg broke into the top 20 for the first time, climbing five places to No. 16.

The overall wealth of the Forbes list increased from $6.4 trillion to $7.05tn. But the average net worth of those included dropped $60m to $3.86bn.

There were 290 newcomers, 71 of whom come from China. The 2015 list is also home to a record 46 billionaires under the age of 40.

Of the 1,826 billionaires on the list, just 197 were women. That figure is up from 172 last year, but women still represent just 11% of the list.