Billionaire Has Wild Solution to Migrant Crisis

Naguib Sawiris thinks plan to buy an island is 'feasible'
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 4, 2015 10:10 AM CDT
Egyptian billionaire businessman Naguib Sawiris speaks in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, Friday, March 13, 2015.   (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

(Newser) – The world received a rude awakening this week regarding Europe's migrant crisis; now an Egyptian billionaire hopes to help out in a big way: He wants to buy an island to be filled with hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees. "Greece or Italy sell me an island, I'll call its (sic) independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country," business mogul Naguib Sawiris wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. Elaborating, he tells the AFP it's a "feasible" plan. "You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees," he says, adding he plans to broach the subject with the governments of Greece and Italy.

Sawiris, with a fortune of $2.8 billion as of last year, doesn't seem bothered about the price of an island, guessing between $10 million and $100 million. The "main thing is investment in infrastructure," starting out with "temporary shelters" then "employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals." If the residents wanted to return to their home countries once conflicts are resolved, they'd be more than able, Sawiris says. But this way they'd be treated like "human beings." Now, "they are being treated like cattle." Sawiris says his experience in establishing El Gouna, a resort town of 32,000 on the Red Sea, shows he's the man for the job, able to make a difficult landscape livable, per Ahram Online. (Read more migrants stories.)

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