Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal pledged his entire $32-billion fortune to charitable projects over the coming years. At a press conference in Saudi Capital Riyadh, he said his pledge was modeled on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic funds in the United States….reporst Asian Lite News.
Alwaleed said his charity “will help build bridges to foster cultural understanding, develop communities, empower women, enable youth, provide vital disaster relief and create a more tolerant and accepting world.”
The money “will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years”, he said, but stressed there was no time limit for the donation to be spent.
Alwaleed said he would head a board of trustees tasked with spending the funds, which would still be used after his death “for humanitarian projects and initiatives”.
“We are clearly in very close coordination with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation”, which is already working with Alwaleed on a polio eradication project, he said.
“This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding,” and there should be no impact on the publicly listed company’s share price, Alwaleed told reporters on the 66th-floor headquarters of the firm which he chairs.
As well as media stakes, Kingdom Holding has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels and Citigroup. Alwaleed is constructing a tower in the Red Sea city of Jeddah that is to rise more than one kilometre to be the world’s tallest building.
Alwaleed last week in Paris signed a letter of intent with France’s CDC International Capital to create the first French-Saudi investment fund, worth up to $400 million.
A separate deal saw a French consortium and CDC IC invest about $150 million in Kingdom Holding. Alwaleed told reporters he has already donated a total of $3.5 billion over more than 35 years through his Alwaleed Philanthropies in 92 countries.
The charity has distributed houses and provided electricity to isolated Saudi communities, while supporting other projects around the world. He said he announced his pledge now, after years of preparation, to institutionalize the process “so they can continue after my lifetime”. Flanked by his son Prince Khaled and daughter Princess Reem, he said they would be president and vice-president of the charity after he dies. “I believe that a person should take dramatic and drastic decisions at his peak,” Alwaleed said, proclaiming himself to be in good shape.” I’m very healthy, enough to bike every day three hours,” he said. “I assure you my health is good.”