Egypt Billionaire Sawiris Wants to Buy an Island for Refugees and Call it ‘Hope’

“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,” said billionaire Naguib Sawiris in...
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“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,” said billionaire Naguib Sawiris in a tweet that has since gone viral.

Naguib Sawiris, Egypt’s second richest man, confirmed to Agence France Press that his offer was real and not just a tweet.

“You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees,” said Sawiris to AFP who added that there would be “temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals.”

“And if things improve, whoever wants to go back (to their homeland) goes back.”

More than 2,500 refugees have drowned in 2015 while attempting to reach Europe and other parts of the world.

On Twitter, Naguib Sawiris said that the Island would also offer jobs in what would essentially result in “building a new country from scratch.”

Sawiris added that the problem was not the money to purchase an Island, which should cost between $US 10 million and $100 million, but being allowed to implement such an initiative. In statements to AFP, Sawiris said that persuading Greece or Italy to sell the island and getting around jurisdictional issues would be an obstacle.

As media reports of his offer continued to spread across the globe, Sawiris defended his idea on Twitter.

“There [will be] no Bashar [Al-Assad] and no ISIS at least!” said one tweet by Sawiris. When one user criticized Sawiris for not implementing such an initiative in Egypt, Sawiris said “we need permission from the Egyptian Government [and there are] no jobs [in Egypt].”

When asked what this new ‘country’ or ‘island’ would be called, Naguib Sawiris tweeted ‘Hope’.

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