Republic of Congo’s Debt May Be Much Higher Than Estimated

The Republic of Congo’s public debt may exceed $12.5 billion, more than a third higher than previous International Monetary Fund estimates, corruption watchdog Global Witness said, Bloomberg News reported. The debt could further complicate Congo’s three-year, $449 million loan program it began with the IMF in July. The Washington-based lender has already postponed its first review of the program while Congo restructures external commercial debt, an IMF spokesman said by email Friday before it had seen the Global Witness report. The London-based group says as much as $3.3 billion owed by Congo and state-owned oil company Societe Nationale des Petroles du Congo, or SNPC, was previously undisclosed, based on an analysis of documents and contracts that were released under conditions of the IMF bailout. Read more

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