Saudi Prince Alwaleed pledges $32bn fortune to charity

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal PC:
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, the world’s 34th richest person, made global headlines after declaring on Wednesday that he will donate all of his wealth of $32 billion to charity in the upcoming years. The money will go to the Saudi prince’s organization called Alwaleed Philanthropies which would be used to foster and cater cultural understanding, provide fundamental disaster relief, eradication of diseases and establishment of orphanages and schools.

Sometimes referred to as the Arabian Warren Buffett, the Prince said his pledge was fashioned on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic funds in the United States. Alwaleed joins other billionaires who have made similar pledges in the last few years, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Michael Bloomberg.  Speaking in the Saudi capital of Riyadh, he said, “Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago. With this pledge, I am honouring my life-long commitment to what matters most – helping to build a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world for generations to come.” The Prince said the donation would take place over several years and would be overseen by a board of trustees, which he will lead.

Prince Alwaleed is the chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company where he owns 95% stake. The company owns stakes in an  array of high-end and household names ranging from hotels like The Four Seasons, Fairmont and Raffles, real-estate portfolios, agriculture to major stakes in the worlds of publishing, entertainment and social media like Citigroup, Apple and Twitter. The Prince who described the move as guided by his Islamic faith is seen to be in sympathy with issues like women’s rights.
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