MEXICO CITY. Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim strengthened his grip on the title of world's richest man this week, piling up billions of additional dollars between himself and his nearest rivals Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.
Over the past year, the 71-year-old Slim added $20 billion to the value of his assets, making him worth $74 billion, according to Forbes.
Equivalent to 6.6 per cent of Mexico's annual economic output, Slim could in theory use his fortune to transform the lives of millions, slash public debt or wallow in boundless luxury.
Following are a few examples of what the money could buy.
* Slim could cover Mexico's entire education budget for the next decade or pay the statutory minimum wage for nearly four out of 10 Mexicans for an entire year.
* The cash could feed all of Mexico's 112 million people with 80 kilos of tortilla -- the average amount of the staple foodstuff Mexicans eat annually -- for the next 11 years.
* The $74 billion is more than double what Mexico, the world's No. 7 oil exporter, earned from crude exports last year and could entirely cover the state-run oil firm Pemex's annual tax bill, roughly a third of the Mexican government's budget.
* Slim, a widower who has been romantically linked to Queen Noor of Jordan and Spanish socialite Silvia Gomez-Cuetara, could afford 1,617 pink diamonds like the rare 24.78 carat stone sold by Sotheby's for $45.75 million last year.
* His astronomical wealth could fund the operations of U.S. space agency NASA for four years.
* The avid sports fan could pay four times the budget of Brazil's Olympics Public Authority, the agency in charge of coordinating investment for the 2016 games.
* The money could also cover eight times the $9 billion annual cost for global HIV treatments as estimated by the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS.
* An art collector who earlier this month opened a 60,000+ piece museum in Mexico City, Slim could buy 528 Jackson Pollock "No. 5, 1948", which reportedly sold for $140 million -- the highest price ever paid for a painting.