This Egyptian Billionaire Has A Million-Dollar Idea To Help Refugees

Rich Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, which have done next to nothing to help out migrants, can learn a thing or two from Naguib Sawiris.

This Egyptian Billionaire

As world leaders are struggling to find a suitable solution to the ongoing migrant crisis in Europe, an Egyptian billionaire has come forward with a brilliant plan to help the destitute refugees on his own.

Naguib Sawiris, a telecom tycoon who is believed to be worth $2.9 billion, has proposed to buy a Mediterranean island and develop it into an independent country to help hundreds of thousands of people fleeing Syria and other conflict-ridden areas.

He announced the initiative on his Twitter account:

Acknowledging his idea could be a little far-fetched, Sawiris added there’s no harm in giving it a try:

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Syrian refugee

Sawiris told AFP there are dozens of deserted islands that could easily be utilized as a safe haven for refugees. He estimated that an island off Greece or Italy could cost between $10 million and $100 million.

Speaking to CBC in a separate interview, he said, “No sane person with integrity would look at the news and decide not to take action.”

As an example for his proposal, Sawiris cited El Gouna, a resort town that his family developed on the Red Sea in Egypt, as an example of a “desert land that he turned habitable.”

 Keleti railway

More than 2,600 migrants are known to have died crossing the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe in 2015, many of them Syrians who fled their country’s four-and-a-half year conflict.

While countries like Iceland and Germany have been rather welcoming, some have been selective in their hospitality like Slovakia, Poland and Bulgaria, which are only accepting Christian migrants.  

And then there are rich oil Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait that have done next to nothing for the helpless people – despite being regionally closer to Syria and Iraq. These nations could surely learn a thing or two from Sawiris who, as an individual, is at least thinking of possible solutions within available resources.

Read More: Eastern Europe Doesn’t Want Muslim Refugees – And That's A Big Problem