The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, disclosed this while answering questions from State House correspondents at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
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Onyeama, accompanied by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, had briefed journalists of the benefits of the President’s visit when he was asked to give further details on the widely-reported currency swap.
He had said the trip which saw about five ministers, state governors and over 100 privately-sponsored businessmen accompanying the President was a successful one.
Apart from getting $50m to help the Nigerian military from China, he added that the country offered to help address security challenge in the Gulf of Guinea and the issue of oil theft.
He said China promised to help in diversification of Nigeria’s economy, adding that five agreements in critical sectors were signed during the visit.
Onyeama however said it would be wrong to report the agreement reached on currency as a currency swap.
He explained, “It’s not really a swap. What it takes is that as the Chinese economy goes strong, there is some pressure on them from the trading partners, international financial institutions.
“They agreed that the money should be internationalised. So, they started that for a while. They were protecting it also. They did not allow it to be fully exchangeable.
“But now, their economy is fully strong, they are looking for a way to internationalise the currency. Now, they are saying essentially that they wanted to segment it.
“For Southern Africa, South Africa is going to be the sort of a hub for the currency. So, they are going to be the focal point for the Chinese to make that available for trade in that area.
“In West Africa, they are looking for a hub. Ghana is interested in being the hub for the currency to circulate it for those who want to use it. It is not compulsory.
“But Nigeria is a bigger country with bigger economy. So that does make sense. And they became a kind of attracted to Nigeria to be the hub.”
The minister said it was beneficial for Nigeria to be the hub.
He said it would be in the nation’s interest to use Yuan when buying Chinese goods.
He said that did not foreclose the use of dollars.