A Saudi prince pledged on Wednesday to give away his entire $32 billion fortune to charitable causes in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere in the world.
The prince, Alwaleed bin Talal, said the funds would go to his charity, Alwaleed Philanthropies, for causes like disease eradication, intercultural understanding, women’s empowerment, disaster relief and the electrification of isolated areas.
The new pledge by one of the world’s richest men follows moves by other hugely wealthy individuals to shift their fortunes into philanthropy. In a statement released online, Prince Alwaleed said his group had worked with the foundation established by Bill and Melinda Gates that had channeled billions of dollars into similar causes.
Prince Alwaleed, a nephew of King Salman, holds no official position in the Saudi government and is often seen as an outsider. He is known for giving relatively frank interviews on financial and political issues that sometimes rankle officials in the normally tight-lipped kingdom.
And in the only country in the world where women are barred from driving, Prince Alwaleed employs many women, who dress as they wish.
Prince Alwaleed’s pledge came during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, and he described the move as guided by his Islamic faith.
“With this pledge, I am honoring my lifelong commitment to what matters most — helping to build a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable world for generations to come,” he said.
The prince gave no time frame during which the funds would be disbursed, but he said he had formed a board of trustees to choose projects and oversee them.
Most of Prince Alwaleed’s wealth is in the investment firm Kingdom Holding, of which he owns 95 percent of shares. His investments include stakes in Twitter, Apple, Citigroup, Euro Disney and the News Corporation.
In the past 35 years, his charity has invested in $3.5 billion worth of projects in more than 92 countries and has supported study centers at a number of top universities, the statement said.