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Billionaire Offers to Buy Island for Refugees

Billionaire Offers to Buy Island for Refugees

There is always some crisis or another going on in the world that we want to raise money for or donate to. Often, celebrities and the world’s rich folk get involved too, but “civilians” who don’t have as much money often wonder why those more affluent don’t donate more.

Although there are a lot of people out there who could afford to try and make a difference, it’s not something you hear about as often as we would like.

It is a similar story with the Syrian refugees, with governments struggling to come up with a viable solution for the hundreds or thousands of people fleeing their war-torn homeland.

But as is sometimes the case in times of crisis, there are a few shining examples of people who just want to do what they can to help at – no matter the cost.

One such individual is Naguib Sawiris. According to Forbes, Sawiris is the third richest man in Egypt and tenth in all of Africa. As CEO of Orascom Telecom Media & Technology (OTMT), he is worth billions of dollars.

A regular tweeter on Twitter, Sawiris announced to his followers that he wanted to help the Syrian refugees and he knows just the way to do it.

He wants to buy them an island.


Sawiris pointed out that there are lots of islands off the coast of Italy or Greece that are deserted and could easily fit hundreds of thousands of refugees.

“Greece or Italy sell me an island,” he tweeted, “I’ll call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country.”

Despite it sounding like a throwaway comment from a rich guy, Sawiris insists that he is serious. He explained that he could build temporary shelters to house the refugees and then employ them to build houses, schools, and hospitals. He added that if things improved back in Syria, they could always go home if they wanted to.


And he is quite aware of the challenges he would face if he actually gets to go ahead with his plan. To start with, it would likely be difficult to convince Greece or Italy to sell him an island, which would cost him between $10 million and $100 million. He would also have to work out jurisdiction and customs regulations.

Of course, he has been asked by he doesn’t try to effect such changes in his own country, which has seen its fair share of problems and riots over the past couple of years. However, as he pointed out, that he doesn’t have any power to create the necessary changes without getting in the way of the Egyptian government.

And, besides, Sawiris knows he has a good chance of making a positive difference in the lives of the Syrian refugees.

“The way [the refugees] are being treated now, they are being treated like cattle,” he said. He explained that anyone who took refuge in this new land would be treated like the human they are.

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