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Saudi Prince pledges $32 bn fortune to charity

Pledge is modeled on a charity established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the US, Alwaleed bin Talal says

Saudi tycoon Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Wednesday promised his entire $32 billion (28.8 billion euro) fortune to charitable projects in coming years, in one of the biggest ever such pledges.

The pledge is “maybe… the first such big announcement” of its kind in the region, and is modeled on a charity established by Microsoft founder Bill Gates in the United States, the prince told reporters.

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.”

The 60-year-old magnate belongs to the Saudi royal family and is a nephew of king Abdullah, who died on January 23.

In the conservative Muslim kingdom, Alwaleed, who holds no government rank, is unusual for his high profile and periodic comments about economic issues.

“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.


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