Could I have a foreign wife... please?

Author:Ankomah, Baffour

Now that we can take an insurance policy to pay our foreign debts when our countries are hit by natural disasters, wouldn't it be nice to include foreign wives as part of the package? Poor Africa.

It was James Baldwin, the American writer, who said: "Money is like sex: you think of little else if you don't have it, and think of other things if you have it."

I think I like that.

For an even better version, we must go to David Ginola, the flamboyant French footballer now playing in Britain. He says: "There are two things that drive this world: Sex and money. Everyone can have sex, but most people don't have money, and that makes them unequal."

What else than "inequality" would have made the men behind the new insurance policy to have even thought that paying foreign debts should be the No.1 priority of poor countries hit by natural disasters?

If you haven't already heard the news, here is the gist of it: "Disaster-hit poor nations get debt cover", was how the Financial Times (FT) reported it in London on 23 October.

"When typhoons or earthquakes strike small states, their first call for help may soon be to Lloyd's of London rather than the International Red Cross in Geneva," the FT said.

"Under a new insurance scheme, 42 of the most vulnerable countries will be able to obtain insurance to cover the cost of servicing their external debt, official and private, should they be hit by 'hurricane, tropical storm, typhoon, mudslide, flood, tidal wave or volcanic eruption'.

"In the past, some countries devastated by natural disasters, such as Honduras and Nicaragua in 1998, or Mozambique earlier this year, found emergency aid was dwarfed by debt obligations their shattered economies could not meet.

"The policy has been developed by the newly established Commonwealth Disaster Management Agency (CDMA), incorporated in London, and Liberty Syndicate, part of the Liberty Mutual Group of companies. 'Small states will be able to obtain insurance at a fixed and affordable price so that outstanding loans can continue to be serviced following a natural disaster,' says Sir Humphrey Maud, CDMA chairman."

According to the FT, "small states, 32 of which are members of the Commonwealth, are defined as ones with a population of less than 1.5 million, but Jamaica, Lesotho, Namibia and Papua New Guinea also qualify. Larger Commonwealth members may become eligible once the scheme has got off the ground."

Both lenders and borrowers could buy insurance to cover an agreed...

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