An Egyptian billionaire has said he wants buy and develop an island from Greece or Italy in order to house hundreds of thousands of migrants fleeing Syria and other countries.
Sawiris, the chief executive of a mobile phone operator in the Middle East and Africa, said on Twitter that he would grant this purchased island independence and provide jobs to migrants “for them building their own country.”
Lots of questions remain on the details and feasibility of Sawiris’s idea. The billionaire admitted to the AFP that his plan could face various hurdles, such as convincing Greece or Italy to sell him an island and determining legal matters like jurisdiction and customs regulations.
Sawiris, who says he is planning to discuss his plan with the governments of Greece and Italy, estimates that an island would cost between $10 and $100 million, with considerable additional costs in infrastructure to build housing, schools, hospitals and other basic needs.
More than 300,000 migrants have arrived on the shores of southern Europe this year, trying to escape conflict and poverty in Syria, Afghanistan and other nations.