Nigeria is leading three major African countries in foreign reserves as at Monday, May 7, 2018, as the countrys gross earnings hit $47.80 billion, according to data seen by Business Insider Sub-Saharan African from the nations central bank.

Nigeria, which recently emerged from its worst economic recession in over 25 years with less than $21 billion in foreign reserves, has built up its reserves massively over one and half years to become largest in Africa by beating South Africa, Ghana, and Kenya in external reserves with total net reserves of $47,804,549,761.

What is Foreign reserve

According to the IMF, foreign reserves “consist of official public sector foreign assets that are readily available to, and controlled by the monetary authorities, for direct financing of payment imbalances, and directly regulating the magnitude of such imbalances, through intervention in the exchange markets to affect the currency exchange rate and/or for other purposes.”

Edward Adamu, CBN's Deputy Governor, Corporate Services, while speaking at the 25th seminar for Business Editors and financial Correspondents in Uyo, Akwa Ibom, had said that the apex bank hopes to meet the $50 billion target before the end of the year.

The increase in the country’s foreign earnings has helped the Central Bank of Nigeria to sustain forex interventions and reduce pressure on the local currency against major international currencies including the dollar.

Meanwhile, South Africa’s reserves fell to $43.115 billion in April 2018 from $43.384 billion in March 2018.

The Reserve Bank on Tuesday, May 8, 2018, said the forward position, which represents the central bank’s unsettled or swap transactions, was lower at 1.933 billion dollars from 1.996 billion dollars in the previous month.

“The decrease of 440 million dollars in the gross reserves reflects the foreign exchange payments made on behalf of the government and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar against most currencies,” the Reserve bank said.

External reserves of major African countries