A mistake by personnel at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) saw the federal office list Wakanda as an official free-trade partner – the only problem being, Wakanda is fictional.
The USDA later clarified that the comic book country was added in a staff test on free-trade partners, but its publication was a mistake.
The mistake was, however, a very detailed one because, in its online publication, the USDA gave the “facts” of the trade between the US and Wakanda.
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The two countries had apparently traded donkeys, horses, turkeys. ducks, goats as well as dairy cows.
According to the BBC, the list was first identified by a New York-based software engineer, Francis Tseng. He had been on the USDA site trying to figure out tariffs for a fellowship he was applying for.
But a USDA spokesperson was quoted as saying, “The Wakanda information should have been removed after testing and has now been taken down.”
Wakanda is a fictional East African country created by Marvel Comics. It is the home of one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes, Black Panther.
Black Panther has recently been brought to screen with the role played by African-American actor Chadwick Boseman.
This is not the first time a high-level government office or official has “conjured” a country on matters of international relations.
In 2017, Poland’s Foreign Minister, Witold Waszczykowski, said he had met officials from “Belize or San Escobar” to court support for Poland’s bid to join the UN security council.
But while Belize is a Central American country founded in part by African slaves, San Escobar is not a country that exists.