Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, says Alwaleed

Updated 02 July 2015

Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, says Alwaleed

RIYADH: “Philanthropy is a personal responsibility, which I embarked upon more than three decades ago and is an intrinsic part of my Islamic faith,” says Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Kingdom Holding Company (KHC).
Prince Alwaleed made these remarks on Wednesday when he pledged his entire fortune to the tune of $32 billion to charitable projects.
While many of his philanthropic projects are already under way, the prince has confirmed the funds will be made available even after his death.
The prince said he will donate his fortune to his organization called Alwaleed Philanthropies to work in the fields of “intercultural understanding” and supporting communities in need.
Programs will include promoting health, eradicating disease, bringing electricity to remote villages, building orphanages and schools, as well as empowering women.
His pledge came during the holy month of Ramadan when Muslims are encouraged to give charity and help the needy.
Prince Alwaleed has supported philanthropy for more than 35 years, donating $3.5 billion thus far through the Alwaleed Philanthropies.
Prince Alwaleed joins other billionaires who have made similar pledges in recent years, such as Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg and Michael Bloomberg.
Prince Alwaleed has always had a good foresight, and the prince has routinely invested in promising companies such as Twitter.
At Wednesday’s press conference, he praised The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the US and shared that his intentions and visions were “modeled” on the philanthropic organization spearheaded by Bill Gates and his wife, Melinda Gates.
“Since most of my wealth was achieved from this blessed country, I have made giving back to Saudi Arabia my number one priority, after which our philanthropic efforts will extend to countries around the world in accordance with the regulations governing charitable activities,” said the prince.
He said: “You may rightly wonder, why am I doing this? My response is that everyone goes through certain life-changing situations that have a great effect on his or her crucial future decisions. I have had the opportunity to witness, first hand, the challenging conditions of many communities across the globe, first hand, and have stood among those who were suffering and in great need. I have also learned of overwhelming obstacles through meetings with the leaders of countries and communities around the world.:
Prince Alwaleed said his foundations have been collaborating with other philanthropic organizations, NGOs, governments and non-profits for decades. Our work is far-reaching, providing humanitarian assistance to ease poverty and famine, supporting development, health and education, and encouraging long-term, sustainable change for the better.
He said: “Given the world’s current economic and social conditions, and the devastating effects of war and natural disasters around the world, more collaborative efforts are required from all capable individuals to unify their stand in the effort to alleviate poverty in the most deprived communities and to advance and build their societies.”
The prince said he was making the announcement as an illustration of God Almighty’s blessings, following His words in the Holy Qur’an: “But tell of the favors of your Lord,” (AlDhoha).
The prince added: “As I see it, the time has come for me to share all that I have to support communities through my foundation, Alwaleed Philanthropies, which aims to initiate and support projects worldwide regardless of religion, race or gender.”
He said: “For 35 years, Alwaleed Philanthropies have developed and sustained projects in more than 92 countries. We collaborate with a wide range of philanthropic, governmental and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, to develop communities, provide disaster relief and to nurture cultural understanding through education. Together, we can build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant and accepting world. Ours is a belief in humanity without boundaries and a commitment toward all.”

Kuwait’s debt law gridlock poses first economic test

Updated 01 October 2020

Kuwait’s debt law gridlock poses first economic test

  • Oil exports accounted for 89 percent of revenues for Kuwait last fiscal year

DUBAI: Kuwait’s new Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah faces the urgent task of overcoming legislative gridlock on debt legislation needed to tackle a liquidity crisis in the country.

Parliament has repeatedly blocked the bill, which would allow Kuwait to tap international debt markets, but the issue has gained urgency as low oil prices and COVID-19 strained state finances and led to the rapid depletion of available cash reserves.

“The country needs to quickly pass a new public debt law to ease liquidity shortages,” said Mohamed Abu Basha, head of macroeconomic analysis at EFG Hermes.

The new ruler, sworn in on Wednesday after the death of his brother Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, takes the helm with the nearly $140 billion economy facing a yawning deficit of $46 billion this year.

Oil prices at about $40 a barrel are largely below what is needed to balance the OPEC member state’s budget, in which public sector salaries and subsidies accounted for 71 percent of spending for the 2020-2021 fiscal year.

“The deadlock on the funding situation directly threatens the government’s ability to function and pay salaries, which represents a significant escalation in the brinksmanship between the two branches of government,” said Moody’s.

The ratings agency, which downgraded Kuwait last week due to higher liquidity risks and concerns over its institutional strength, said it expected the proposed debt law to be passed by emiri decree between October and December.

Parliamentary elections are due to be held later this year, though authorities have not yet set a date.

Lawmakers opposed to the bill have called for clarity on government plans to reduce reliance on oil exports, which accounted for 89 percent of revenues last fiscal year. Analysts say parliament has hindered efforts to push through sensitive reforms such as introducing value-added tax in a country whose citizens are used to generous state subsidies.

Kuwait could see its economy shrink by 7.8 percent this year, Deutsche Bank has estimated, in what would be one of the worst economic crunches among Gulf oil exporters.

However, Sheikh Nawaf’s succession is not expected to significantly alter Kuwait’s economic outlook, at least in the short term.

“On the economic side, we think it’s more of the same,” said Mohammed Ali Yasin, chief strategy officer at Al Dhabi Capital.

But he added that resolving the debt saga would boost prospects for the country.