Saturday, January 26, 2008
New breed of billionaire
The global wealth boom has created a new breed of billionaire in once-destitute countries, and a number of them are using their wealth to push for social changes.
ISTANBUL — Stuck in a traffic jam in his bulletproof BMW, the richest man in Turkey lets loose with a satisfied grin.
Since 2000, Husnu M. Ozyegin has spent more than $50 million of his own money, building 36 primary schools and girls’ dormitories in the poorest parts of Turkey. Next to the Turkish government, Mr. Ozyegin is the biggest individual supporter of schools in the country — and an official from the education ministry has told him that his market share is increasing.
The global wealth boom has created a new breed of billionaire in once-destitute countries like Turkey, India, Mexico and Russia. Propelled by their rising economies, robust currencies and globally competitive companies, they have ridden a surge in local stock markets that have reached previously untouchable heights in a short five-year timeframe. Now, a number of them are using their wealth to bolster their standing and push for social changes.
Alfred Hitchcock's "Foreign Correspondent"