Egypt’s third richest man wants Greece and Italy to sell him an island for refugees who have been fleeing war and poverty in Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.
Greece or Italy sell me an island,ill call its independence and host the migrants and provide jobs for them building their new country
— Naguib Sawiris (@NaguibSawiris) September 1, 2015
Naguib Onsi Sawiris, a prominent Telecoms billionaire, said buying an island for refugees was a feasible option in an interview with Agence France Press.
“You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees,” Sawiris said, according to Forbes.
Forbes estimates that buying an island off Greece or Italy could cost anywhere between $10-$100 million.
The billionaire acknowledged the absurdity of his tweet but insisted he was serious, tweeting “there is nothing to joke about. I don’t joke on the misery of people.”
Just this week, images of a drowned Syrian boy showed the tragic plight of refugees. According to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, the boy’s death added to the estimated death toll; some 2,500 people have died this summer attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe The influx of refugees and migrants to Europe has opened up a larger political debate on how European countries should act.
This isn’t the billionaire’s first time entering a larger political debate. In the wake of the Egyptian Revolution in 2011, he was one of the founding members of the Free Egyptians’ Party, according to International Business Times.