Russian bank’s fat-finger error almost gives poor African country six times its GDP
The loan was mentioned in a quarterly VTB financial report published by the Central Bank of Russia and seen by Reuters. However, VTB insists it was a technical error and that no such loan was provided to the African country.
“VTB bank has no exposure of this size to CAR. Most likely, this is a case of a technical mistake in the system when the countries were being coded,” the lender said in a statement sent to Reuters. It didn’t detail who was responsible for the mistake or how such a large figure could have been published without being spotted.
The sum of more than 800 billion rubles ($12 billion) is more than six times of Central African Republic’s annual economic output.
“I don’t have that information. But it doesn’t sound credible because $11 billion is beyond the debt capacity of CAR,” said government spokesman Ange Maxime Kazagui.
“We are members of the International Monetary Fund. When a member of the IMF wants to take on debt… it has to discuss that with the IMF,” he explained.
A former French colony, CAR is a nation of five million people with a gross domestic product of $1.95 billion, according to the World Bank. It remains one of the poorest countries in the world and is still marked by the humanitarian and security crisis of 2013.
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