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NSE’s Oscar Onyema says Africa needs a vibrant market to attract investment

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The CEO of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Oscar Onyema, has said that Africa needs a solid and vibrant capital market ecosystem that will attract investment. 

Speaking at the NSE CEO Interactive Session for the Consumer Goods Sector on Friday, 29 November 2019, in Lagos, Onyema noted that there is also considerable opportunity for the consumer goods sector to contribute to Nigeria’s sustainability agenda by tapping into the Green and Sustainable Finance Market.

“This represents a new stage in development of the Nigerian capital markets and opens the way to expanded international investments. The NSE is playing a key role to help develop this enormous opportunity for Nigeria and fulfill one of our key objectives as a member of the UN Sustainable Stock Exchange Initiative.

“This is evident in our recent partnership with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange to facilitate cross listing of green bonds and provide domestic issuers global visibility to attract international investors.”

Onyema noted that creating and sustaining the growth trajectory of the Nigerian markets and the economy at large, “requires a strong commitment from each and every one of us here today”.

“It is not an easy journey, but that it is one we have no choice but to embark upon individually and collectively, in order to develop and guarantee Nigeria and indeed Africa’s competitive advantage in today’s interconnected world.

“We must use this opportunity to partner with each other, to enable us further unlock our growth potential and advance the development of the consumer goods sector and capital markets,” he said.

He expressed hope that the insightful deliberations at this interactive session would drive the level of engagement and idea generation that will strengthen Nigeria’s real sector and reinforce the drive of Federal, States and Corporates in accessing the deep pool of capital inherent in the Nigerian Capital Market.

“I have no doubt that we will be better positioned to attract the rightsized capital required to drive the country’s much needed economic reforms and sustainable growth,” he added.

Earlier in a keynote address, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Chief Niyi Adebayo, noted that Nigeria is one of the fastest-growing consumer markets not only in Africa, but the world at large.

He said that Nigeria’s consumer market was valued at 377 billion dollars in 2013 and expected to peak at 454.3 billion dollars in 2025.

This growth, according to the minister, is driven by three major factors – Population, urbanization and increased spending power. It is common knowledge that the existence of a large market presents an opportunity for growth in the consumer goods sector.

He noted that Nigeria with a population estimated at 200 million people with 72 percent under the age of 30 indicates huge potential for future investment and consumption activities. It is projected by the United Nations (UN) that most global population, between 2017 and 2030, will be absorbed by cities, and that new residents in urban areas will count for about 1.1 billion over the next 13 years.

Similarly, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs forecasts that 66 percent of the world population (2.5 billion people) will reside in urban areas by 2050. This anticipated push towards urban centres will undoubtedly provide a unique opportunity for the growth of the consumer sector.

“In all of these, Nations must be proactive and focused to deliver the right policies and programs using critical institutions – Both public and private – to boost output by providing the right environment and financing for businesses to thrive. This, to my mind, is where the capital market should take the lead as a financial intermediary.

He assured the guests that the Nigerian Government remains committed to improving the business environment towards industrialization and economic prosperity.

According to him, the restriction of the availability of foreign exchange to the importation of 44 items in 2019, which could be competitively produced within the economy and the recent border closure hinges on the government’s policy of enhancing demand for locally manufactured goods and enabling favourable competition among manufacturers.

“The gains being recorded from this twin policy should increase domestic business activities and make the capital market more active,” he said. 

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