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Indexing Personal Danger

A post on the Risk Management Monitor last month from Christine Kane talked about the most dangerous countries for expats to work in.

Listed were Iraq, Colombia, Somalia, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

For most of us, Kane said, the biggest work-related danger is boredom. But in these countries, everything can go wrong.

About Somalia, for example, she said: 'When a country uses chemical warfare on its own people, you know you want to skip working there. Not only is Somalia a failed state known for anarchy, corruption and famine, but it also has so many pirates that people are warned not to even sail near the Horn of Africa.'

Colombia? Home to around 2,500 kidnappings a year, Kane said, with about 200 of the victims eventually being murdered.

The countries on Kane's list, we noticed, are also known for rampant graft.

Colombia ranks 80 on the corruption perceptions index, tied with Greece and Thailand. Way down the cpi are Pakistan at 134, Iraq at 175, Afghanistan at 180, and Somalia at 182 -- dead last in the world.

Where corruption takes root, it seems, personal risk soars as well.

Other examples? Russia, at 124 on the cpi, is a spooky place for expats. In Nigeria, ranked 143, highwaymen make the ride into Lagos from the airport among the world's most dangerous. Yemen, ranked 164, has some oil. But sending in foreign workers to produce it is always dicey.

On the other hand, who would turn down an assignment to any of the cpi's top-ranked countries -- New Zealand, Denmark, Finland, Sweden, or Singapore?

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