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Africa’s Throwing Away Dollars It Can’t Afford in Currency Rout

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Africa is battling the global currency markets with one hand tied behind its back.

With foreign-exchange reserves equal to less than a 10th of the emerging-market average, nations from Ghana to Zambia are finding they’re powerless to stop their currencies from tumbling amid a rout in commodities, China’s devaluation and the prospect of higher interest rates in the U.S. Half the 10 worst-performing currencies this year are from Africa, even though policy makers are burning through their reserves faster than any other region.