What $20 Billion Can Buy You, By Aisha Oyebode

In the course of discussion last night, it suddenly occurred to me that I just couldn’t comprehend what $20bn could possibly buy. It began with my mother saying that is Two Thousand Million USD. Incomprehensible?

Now if I can’t comprehend, I am sure there are many out there like me who can’t either, hence perhaps the challenge with feeling enough outrage. So I went shopping on the internet. I bought things that I could find prices for. Some not so useful like 4 GSM licenses but just to get a sense of how staggering the amount is, my shopping is as follows;

What 20billion can buy


Too many to carry, I agree, how about:

1 1 Heathrow Terminal 5 $7,500,000,000 ($7.5bn) Commissioned March 2008 and cost 4.3bn pounds and described with pride  by her majesty as “a 21st Century gateway to Britain” .. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk/7294618.stm
2 1 Petroleum Refinery $9,000,000,000($9bn) www.ft.com › reports‎ Aliko Dangote builds up manufacturing with $9bn Nigeria refinery Oct 10, 2013
3 5 7 Star Hotel $3,000,000,000($3bn) Burj Al Arab  cost $600m http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burj_Al_Arab
    Grand Total  $19,500,000,000(19.5bn)  

I am not a mathematician and my calculator kept running out of zeros, but I think quite accurate. Have a great day!

*Ms. Aisha Oyebode, the Chief Executive Officer at the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, originally published this contribution to the civil society engagement discussion forum. It is published here with the author’s permission.

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