To address the infrastructure deficit currently affecting capital markets in the West African region, Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX) has stated that a harmonised regulatory environment as well as smart infrastructure will help to drive Africa’s competitiveness in the global market.
Its Chief Executive Officer, Temi Popoola stated this during the two-day Capacity Building/Sensitization program on the West African Capital Markets Integration (WACMI) Phase 2 Project which held in Lagos on Tuesday.
Popoola, who was represented by the Divisional Head, Capital Markets, Jude Chiemeka, said the WACMI Phase 2 Project is another milestone for the West African Capital Market Integration Council (WACMIC), the West Africa Securities Regulatory Association (WASRA), and indeed, the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) on their efforts to integrate the West African Capital Markets through innovative technology.
While appreciating the African Development Bank (AfDB) for sponsoring the regional integration program in order to establish a harmonized regulatory environment for the issuance and trading of financial securities across the region, Popoola said this would help address the infrastructure deficit that severely impedes Africa’s competitiveness in the global market.
According to him, the phase II project will facilitate and stimulate cross-border securities trading, enable free flow of trading information among participants and support the creation of products and securities on the linked exchanges and drive innovation in investment services.
With the raft of evolutionary changes driven by technology, the NGX CEO stressed on the need to build capacity for Phase 2 in line with current realities and ensure market policies and guiding frameworks for the development of infrastructure and regional integration evolve and adapt to the fourth industrial revolution to ensure that Africa earns its rightful place.
“In this regard, we have to develop the complementary skills that will drive the smart infrastructure that Africa urgently requires”, Popoola added.
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Earlier in an opening remark, the Director General, West African Monetary Institute (WAMI), Olorunsola Olowofeso stated that the harmonization of market rules and the capacity building and sensitization programme across the stock exchanges in ECOWAS, other activities under component I include the development and hosting of a centralized database/ website for the West African Market region.
He assured that WAMI as implementing agency of the project will continue to collaborate with all the stakeholders, particularly WASRA and WACMIC to ensure that the project is completed within the stipulated time (June 2024).
This project, he said, will help to boost investors’ confidence by providing them with robust statistical data.
In a keynote address, Director General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Lamido Yuguda, stated that the initiative aims to establish a common and integrated platform for listing, trading, and settling securities transactions within West Africa. Represented by the Executive Commissioner Operations at the SEC, Dayo Obisan, Yuguda stated that capital markets play the crucial role of channeling capital from the place of surplus to that of deficit, helping make production and in turn, development possible. He explained that for development to happen, a strong capital market is a requisite necessity.
“There is need to expand the markets in the sub-region, and one of the ways to do it is to encourage cross-border capital market activity. This increases the opportunity set for people in our sub-region, helps diversification of investments, and encourages transfer of skills and best practices” he stated.