Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal has pledged to gradually give his entire $32 billion fortune to charity, the billionaire investor said on Wednesday, with the cash to be spent on areas including healthcare and women’s rights.
The announcement was made in the middle of Islam’s holy month of Ramadan, a period which promotes charity and thinking of those less fortunate through fasting.
It also comes in the wake of pledges by other vastly wealthy businessmen in recent years to dedicate often huge parts of their personal fortunes to good causes, including Bill Gates, George Soros and Jack Ma.
Prince Alwaleed’s $32 billion will be channelled through his Alwaleed Philanthropies foundation to charities including those that promote health, disease eradication, disaster relief and women’s rights, he told a news conference in Riyadh.
“I’m pledging that gradually, and in the coming years some amounts will be contributed to the Alwaleed foundation.”
The prince did not give a time frame for when he would distribute the $32 billion, but said it would include assets both inside Saudi Arabia and outside.
Included would be shares in Kingdom Holding, the investment firm in which he owns 95 percent of the stock and has stakes in companies including Citigroup, Twitter and Euro Disney, he said.
However, the Kingdom shares would not be sold and his actions would have no impact on either the company, of which he would remain as chairman, or his general investment strategy.
“No monetisation of my shares is on the table as we have the means to cover the cash requirements of the foundation for a very long time,” Alwaleed said.
The prince, a nephew of current Saudi ruler King Salman, said the amount pledged on Wednesday would mean he would have to considerably increase his current charitable giving, which had averaged around $100 million annually for the last 35 years.