Naguib Sawiris
Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris has estimated his island project at around £65mReuters

Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris, who had offered his own solution to help solve the growing migrant crisis by buying Mediterranean island to allow refugees a temporary shelter until a long-term solution can be found, is currently in talks to buy two private islands in Greece. He has been approached by the UN's refugee agency UNHCR to cooperate on the project, which he estimates would cost $100m (£65m, €90m) to start.

A statement from Sawiris's company, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, on 14 September confirmed he had "identified two privately owned Greek islands that constitute a good opportunity for the project. It said: "We have corresponded with the owners and expressed our interest to go into negotiation with them."

The tycoon first claimed he was considering approaching the governments of Greece and Italy to possibly buy an island to help migrants fleeing from conflict zones, such as Syria, two weeks ago.

At the time, he told AFP: "Of course it's feasible. You have dozens of islands which are deserted and could accommodate hundreds of thousands of refugees...[as] temporary shelters to house the people, then you start employing the people to build housing, schools, universities, hospitals. And if things improve, whoever wants to go back [to their homeland] goes back."

More than 411,500 refugees and migrants took their chances aboard unseaworthy boats or dinghies and arrived by sea in 2015. Sadly, these trips had a devastating toll on human life, as UNHCR estimates 2,900 have died or are missing. Meanwhile, there are more than 1,200 Greek islands and fewer than 300 of them are populated.

Who is Naguib Sawiris?

Worth an estimated $2.9bn according to Forbes, Sawiris is a technology and communications magnate. The 557th richest person in the world, he is the third richest man in Egypt and the 10th richest on the African continent. His company, Orascom Telecom Media and Technology, has investments in enterprises in Egypt, Lebanon and Pakistan. It also owns Koryolink, North Korea's 3G mobile telecom company.

The oldest of three brothers, Sawiris joined the family business in 1979. Orascom, his father's company, was the largest private employer in Egypt at the time and was split into separate operating companies in the late 1990s. However, he is not the richest member of his family. His younger brother, Nassef, is the richest man in Egypt and the 225th richest man in the world.

Apart from courting controversy, Sawiris has involved himself in the post-revolutionary politics of his native Egypt in other ways. He was one of the founding members of the Free Egyptians Party.

The political party was formed in April 2011 following the topping of Egypt's 30-year dictator Hosni Mubarak and joined a loose alliance of broadly secular, liberal parties that stood in Egypt's legislative elections in 2011 and 2012.

A member of Egypt's Coptic Christian minority, Sawiris stood opposed to the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and its president, Mohamed Morsi, who held power in the country from 2012 to 2013. Sawiris's party did not see the toppling of Morsi in June 2013 as a coup and supported Abdel Fateh Al-Sisi in his successful bid for the presidency in 2014.