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West Africa Rising: Nigeria shifting currency reserves from dollars to Chinese yuan

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Nigeria, West Africa's largest economy, is selling US dollars for Chinese yuan.

Nigerian Central Bank Governor Lamido Sanusi said in Beijing today that Africa's top oil exporter will convert as much as 10 percent of its $33 billion in foreign reserves from US dollars into Chinese yuan. Central banks use foreign reserves to manage their own currency's value.

In Nigeria's case, the up to $3.3 billion it may convert to yuan isn't an enormous sum – not, at least, for the oil-rich exporter. What is enormous, economists say, is what the bank's decision says: The yuan, pegged to the dollar until not long ago and managed more recently to keep Chinese exports cheap -- is turning into a global reserve currency. Africa – particularly West Africa – may be China's earliest, easiest zone of success.

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