World Cup Perspective


Following the announcement of the host countries for the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup tournaments (to be held in Russia and Qatar respectively), the Building Tomorrow Bureau of Statistics and Research brought out the calculator (one of those big, fancy ones) to understand just how much money will be spent to make the ’22 version of the World Cup happen.

Qatar, the host country, has pledged a combined $54 billion dollars to fund infrastructure improvements and for the construction of new stadiums ahead of the World Cup. If you’re like us, $54 billion sure is a big amount—so big its hard to realistically imagine. So let’s break it down in the context of some of what we’d consider the world’s most pressing needs…

What does $54 billion buy for universal education?
Let’s assume the cost to build a classroom, including administrative costs and variances across developing countries worldwide, is roughly $10,000. For $54 billion dollars, we could build 5,400,000 classrooms worldwide, enough space for approximately 216 million students. For perspective, sub-Saharan Africa, one of the most impoverished regions of the world, is home to approximately 38-41 million children who wake up each morning with no school to attend. That’s lots of classrooms.

What does $54 billion buy in clean water?
Nearly 1 billion people worldwide are without access to water. Our friends at charity:water say it takes $20 to provide clean water for one person for 20 years. With $54 billion dollars, we could provide each one of those 1 billion people with access to clean water for 54 years.

What does $54 billion buy in the fight against malaria?
The UN estimates nearly 250 million new malaria cases every year. Our friends at Malaria No More buy treated mosquito nets at $10 a piece. With $54 billion dollars, we could buy 5.4 billion nets (although we really don’t need THAT many) and significantly, if not almost totally eliminate a disease that claims a child’s life every 45 seconds.

Truth is, we could go on and on, but you get the point. $54 billion sure is lots of money. Make no mistake, all of us at Building Tomorrow are big fans of the game and wish Qatar lots of luck as the host country. We just hope, for humanity’s sake, these causes and so many more are history when the 2022 World Cup rolls around.

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