Complex Made Simple

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal: the Bill Gates of the Arab world

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal al Saud, the nephew of Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz al Saud and the grandson of the country’s founder, has announced that he will be donating his entire fortune, estimated at $32 billion, to charity.

Notorious for being one of the richest men on the planet and one of the leading business magnates from the Middle East region, the prince, who holds no government position is the chairman of investment firm Kingdom Holding Company. The holding company invests in a variety of business sectors, including financial services, leading hotels, mass media, petrochemicals, aviation and real estate, among others.

In addition to this, he is a major shareholder in a number of international organisations, such as Citigroup, 21 Century Fox and other investments, which have earned him the title of the “Arabian Warren Buffet.”

While making the announcement to reporters on Wednesday, he noted that the amount he is donating was his personal wealth and did not affect the shares of his holding company.

When asked about his shareholders’ reaction to the news, Alwaleed said: “Naturally, there should not be any reaction in this case, as I have not and will not sell any share in the holding company.”

“It is difficult to give up an essential source of income for me, which then is distributed and given to the charitable organisation,” he added.

The prince’s charitable organisation, Alwaleed Philanthropies, will be the beneficiary of this fortune.

“We depend on what gets funded by me personally to the organisation,” Alwaleed added, explaining that these funds are in fact made through the profits of his owned shares and stating that the move was inspired by the world of the Bill & Melinda Foundation.

He also noted that the fortune comprises private property owned by the prince in Saudi Arabia, regionally and globally. Hence, the donation process will take place over the course of several years, being utilised through a strategy supervised by a board of trustees, which are all headed by him.