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Peacekeeping dividends

Ghana has stolen a march on its rivals in the world of peacekeeping operations. The ministry of defence drew down in August the first instalment of a $55 million loan from Barclays that will enable it to upgrade its military equipment and secure higher-margin reimbursement from the UN for a stint in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The arms and equipment financing enables Ghana to send in fully-equipped troops. On repayment, Ghana will still own the equipment, which it hopes to use again on peacekeeping operations. To give further assurance to Barclays, Ghana decided to escrow all receivables due from the UN for all its peacekeeping operations worldwide to its Barclays account in the UK to ensure uninterrupted repayment of the facility.

New link The deal is being hailed as a first. "The precedents are there already - either you have a financial institution linked to the state or a state linking to the UN," says Peter Singer, national security fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC and author of Corporate Warriors; The Privatization of War. "What seems to be new is the third party - an international financial institution - linking up to the UN."

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