Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris plans to buy an island for Syrian refugees; wants to name it 'Ilan'

By MoneyTimes

Sep 07, 2015 09:39 PM EDT

Naguib Sawiris, the third richest man in Egypt announced he wants to buy an island either in Greece or Italy to relocate refugees from the war zone, Syria. He wants to name it 'Ilan' to remember Aylan Kurdi, the Syrian boy drowned on Turkish shore.

Based on a report from Forbes, Naguib Sawiris tweeted on Tuesday, "Greece or Italy sell me an island, I'll call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country."

The Egyptian billionaire responded to Agence France Press insisting that he's serious about it. He told Agence France, "You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees."

An island in Italy or Greece could cost him around $10 to $100M, and he plans to build the 'new country' from scratch funding its infrastructure, providing homes for the refugees and employing them to build schools and hospitals.

Sawiris emphasized that if the refugees want to go back to Syria when their homeland declares ceasefire, they can do it whenever they want.

He regarded that the refugees are currently treated like a cattle, he said they will be treated as humans when they were relocated in the 'new country' if plans went well.

Sawiris said he's not thinking about the cost of funding, the main struggles would be to convince the owners to sell their land. Apart from that, he would also face difficulties acquiring land from Italy or Greece with issues about jurisdiction and customs regulations.

Lately, news feed of drowned young Syrian, Aylan Kurdi, flooded the broadcast, online and social media as Syrians leave their home country because of war, as read on Time Magazine.

About 10,000 residents in Iceland already offered temporary accommodation. In America, senators requested to lodge five times more refugees. Even singer, Bob Geldof promised to room four families.

At this point, Amnesty International reported that Greece exerts full effort to thousands refugees. In Kos, 31,000 have arrived by this year only. Some of the refugees have settled in a sport stadium in a callous condition, some were attacked by bats.

Sawiris were estimated to have $2.9B. He is the CEO of Orascom Telecom Media & Technology in Egypt, Pakistan and Lebanon, which also owns Koryolink, a Korean mobile telecommunications company.

Even if the billionaire had gone to several scandals in the past, many consider his idea is a great initiative. He just followed his tweet, updating he will name the island 'Ilan' to remember the Syrian boy found dead in Turkish shore.

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