Riyadh – Saudi Arabia’s billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal on Wednesday pledged his entire $32bn fortune to charitable projects over the coming years.
The prince said in a statement that the “philanthropic pledge 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.”
He said the donation “will be allocated according to a well-devised plan throughout the coming years” but stressed there was no time limit on when the donation would be spent.
Alwaleed said he would head a board of trustees tasked with spending the money, adding that his pledge would still be used after his death “for humanitarian projects and initiatives”.
The magnate belongs to the Saudi royal family and is a nephew of king Abdullah, who died on January 23.
In the conservative Islamic kingdom, Alwaleed, who holds no government rank, is unusual for his high profile and periodic comments about economic issues.
At a press conference, he said his pledge was modelled on the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other philanthropic funds in the United States.
“This is very much separate from my ownership in Kingdom Holding,” Alwaleed told reporters on the 66th-floor headquarters of the publicly listed company which he chairs.
As well as media investments, Kingdom Holding has interests ranging from the Euro Disney theme park to Four Seasons hotels and Citigroup.