Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed to Give Away $32 Billion

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Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has pledged to give away $32 billion over the coming years.

There is no time scale set for the donation, which represents all of his fortune, according to Alwaleed. The billionaire is the world’s 20th richest person with $30.5 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

The gift would benefit Muslim and non-Muslim countries, Alwaleed said in a press conference in Riyadh today. It would be used for work in areas including inter-cultural understanding, disease eradication, providing power to remote areas, building orphanages and schools, disaster relief and empowering women, he said.

Since Bill Gates and Warren Buffett announced the Giving Pledge in 2010, about 200 individuals from around the world have promised to give away more than half of their fortune in life or death. Gates and Buffett are leading by example. The two richest Americans, who are worth $151 billion combined, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, have put more than $46 billion into the Gates foundation.

The Prince hoped the gift would build a “better world of tolerance, acceptance, equality and opportunity for all,” he said in a statement.

Gates Support

Alwaleed is the richest person is Saudi Arabia and his wealth has risen by $3.4 billion, or 12.7 percent, this year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He said in his statement that he has already donated $3.5 billion to his philanthropy unit, which has been working with The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The Carter Center to strengthen health care and control epidemics. Alwaleed spoke to Bill Gates yesterday, who was supportive of the giveaway, the Prince said.

The pledge will not impact any of the investments or future projects of Kingdom Holding Co., the Prince’s primary investment vehicle, he said. Alwaleed owns 95 percent of Kingdom, the investment company through which he holds stakes in Citigroup Inc. and Twitter Inc. It sold off a stake valued at almost $190 million in News Corp. in February, reducing its holding in Rupert Murdoch’s media company to about 1 percent.

French state-controlled investment bank CDC is leading a group of companies that will invest at least $150 million in Kingdom Holding, the Riyadh-based company said on Friday.

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(Adds rise in Alwaleed’s wealth in 6th paragraph.)
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