Tuesday, 1 December 2009

What would you do?

So a financial company based in the Caribbean has decided a good way to make money is to buy old debts from very poor countries and pursue them through the courts for payment. Here's an example:

Liberia (where Mercy Ships spent 3 out of the last 5 years) had a horrible 14 year civil war that ended in 2003, by which point it was probably the poorest country in the world. Since then the country has begun the process of getting back on its feet under the leadership of an excellent, democratically elected President.

They have managed to improve their position in the UNs Human Development Index, thanks to wise use of overseas aid and development (a model other countries in the region could learn from) and debt relief from developed countries.

On Thursday last week the High court in London ordered Liberia to pay $20m to settle a debt from 1978 (originally $6m), that had been bought by these two caribbean 'Vulture' companies.

To put it in perspective, $20m is 5% of the country's total annual budget, and paying it to these companies will do nothing to help the millions of people in the country who have no access to healthcare.

So is this a good way to make money? Is there something that we should do about this, or maybe I can just forget and concentrate on sorting out my plans for Christmas...


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