A wealthy UAE businessman is giving away a third of his fortune – more than Dhs4 billion – to educate Arab youth.

Abdullah Al Ghurair’s donation aims to provide Dhs4.2 billion over 10 years to a foundation to educate underprivileged youth. The launch of the Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation was announced on Tuesday by his son, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair.

The foundation will initially focus on Emirati and Arab expat youth living in the UAE, with the eventual aim of expanding to include students in other Arab countries.

“Education is the cornerstone of prosperous, progressive and inclusive societies, and essential for the sustainable development of our nation and the empowerment of our future leaders.” said Abdullah Al Ahmad Ghurair.

“For many years, the UAE has been known for helping less fortunate countries and individuals. The launch of the Foundation, therefore, is an extension of what our Leadership is already committed to doing. Improving the quality of education and equipping our youth with the skills to succeed in the 21st century is key to reducing unemployment – among the Arab world’s most pressing challenges – and to building peace and prosperity in our region.

“And it is through education that we will effectively tackle inequality, enabling youth from low-income families to fulfill their individual potential and to help their communities thrive.”

Al Ghurair hails from a prominent mercantile family with interests in several industries, and is chairman of Dubai-based Mashreq Bank.

The move comes just days after Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal announced a Ramadan pledge of his own, vowing to donate all of his wealth, or $32 billion, to charity.