Naguib Sawiris at the World Economic Forum on the Middle East. (Jobas / CC BY-SA 3.0)

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris is reportedly offering to buy an island for people fleeing to Europe from war-torn countries in the Middle East and Africa. “Greece or Italy, sell me an island,” Sawiris tweeted earlier this week. He even suggested a name for the new country: “Hope.”

The Independent reports:

When asked if his idea could actually work, Mr Sawiris said: “Of course it’s feasible.”

“You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees.”

Mr Sawiris, who has an estimated net worth of $2.9billion, said although the idea could be problematic, something needed to be done to help the tens of thousands of people attempting to reach Europe in search of a better life.

“The way they are being treated now, they are being treated like cattle,” he claimed to AFP.

The billionaire’s company Orascom TMT, which operates mobile networks across some African and Middle Eastern nations, is Egypt’s largest employer.

More than 2,000 people have died attempting to cross the Mediterranean this year. Earlier this month, a photograph of three-year-old Syrian Aylan Kurdi dead on a beach in Turkey prompted a huge outburst of public support for a change to the EU’s current policy.

Read more here.

–Posted by Roisin Davis

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